O come, strong Branch of Jesse, free
Your own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell your people save
And give them vict’ry o’er the grave.
(O, Come, O Come Emmanuel, v.4)
The holy mystery is this: that Jesus is “branch” from the House of Jesse and David but that, in the incarnation, he is also its “root”. That is: God made manifest.
How strange that the God who created all should become human, one last descendant of an ancient king but also proclamation of resurrection.
I believe that claim is what brings an almost magical freshness to the Advent season. And as an antiphon, this verse from a favorite hymn not only announces Jesus’ birth, but is a reminder of Easter and a preview of Jesus’ second coming. It says, “Remember the reason for Christmas, the reason Jesus came — was to “free” God’s people, “And give them vict’ry o’er the grave.”
Prayer: Help us, O God, to know the freedom Jesus came to bring us, the release from captivity and the tyranny of death. Grant us the joy of your salvation, and save us from the captivity of sin and death. Be with us, O God. Amen.
Deaconess Robin Zoellner – Walkerton, Indiana