The seventh and final O Antiphon, which will be chanted tonight at Vespers at monasteries around the world:
O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,
the hope of the nations and their Savior:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.
Emmanuel: God with us. This is the meaning of Christmas. In a cave—which is what the “stable” in Bethlehem really was—born to a poor teenaged girl: a powerless child of a powerless mother in the shadow of the most powerful empire the world had ever known.
God chose not to come in power and glory, but in humility. He chose not to stop all the suffering in the world—and we struggle to understand why—but he chose to suffer with us.
God is with us. In our joy and in our sorrow. He is with all the children who eyes will light up on Christmas morning when they see their presents wrapped and left under a tree, and he’s with the parents who children are not with them anymore: not this Christmas or any other.
And he is with those children too, for nothing can separate us from the love of God, not even death.
God is with us.