O Come O Come Emmanuel has got to be the Christmas song.
It has so much of that longing, that need and that helpless yearning which is the most enticing and most lost part of Christmas.
The Israelites were waiting for a saviour, they had been waiting for a long time. They were desperate for him, and were aware he was the only one who could truly shift stuff. They knew their need of him and were aching to have him appear.
That sense of longing and desperate need is so often disdained in our current culture. To need anyone, to be unable to create the answer for yourself is the very epitome of weakness. The notion that there are situations where patience and hope in something beyond yourself are the answer to immediate struggle is one to be scoffed at.
I have learned a massive lesson about God's ability to sort things out recently. A friendship that had been struggling reached crisis point and I realised I could no longer take control. I couldn't guide and lead and instruct, I just had to trust that God was on it. The fruit I have seen from my self-restraint and trust has been beyond my wildest dreams. My friend is free to demonstrate their insight and wisdom because I'm not always cutting in first. I am more at peace as I let go of ridiculous levels of responsibility. Most of all I am aware that God not only can sort things without me but that that this is far better!
Yet to leave the future, or even the present, in the hands of God seems so risky.
So many of our modern songs echo this ancient tune, calling for God to come, for him to act and step in to our world and struggles. How often when we say 'come Lord Jesus' do we mean come, but don't be in charge. Or come, and tell me what to do so that I can fix it myself. I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't be proactive in engaging with life, that we should just sit back and let life happen before us, not one bit. I believe that there is a peace and a freedom that comes from accepting that our rush to make things happen can sometimes keep us from the peace and freedom that is to be found in needing God and seeing him come through for us. It's massively counter-cultural but its so freeing. I have learned that it's often hard to truly trust God to act, but that when you discipline yourself to do so his power, his knowledge of the situation (which far outweighs my own) and his mercy shine through.