Editor’s Note: Many thanks to the author for granting permission to post her beautiful and personal reworking of the beloved Advent hymn: O Come, O Come Emmanuel.
O come Beloved Bridegroom stay In love’s embrace until the break of day. Breathe deep the almond blossom perfume And rest among the dew-kissed lily blooms. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to you, O Israel. O come sound-stream of silence speak Your Word to aching hearts that seek Creation’s light to blaze through the void Till death and dark are finally destroyed. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to you, O Israel. Abvoon d’bwashmayia unbind Our hearts from Satan’s chains entwined. Thy holy Name creation’s refrain L’alam olmein ameyn. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to you O Israel. -- Maria Deasy
The first verse is centered around Solomon’s Song of Songs. The key word is “stay”. The bride is coaxing her Bridegroom to be with her through the allegorical night, until the never-ending day arrives at the end of time (Revelations 21 v25). Though almond blossoms (which smell like honey) aren’t mentioned specifically, the almond tree is symbolic of God watching. The Hebrew for almond is the same as the word for watch. I also incorporate the dew as a symbol of blessing. My own love mirrors the love of Christ’s church for Him here. It speaks to a trusting, intimate longing.
The second verse was inspired by Pope Francis’ “Encountering Truth” December 12, 2013 sermon when he refers to Elijah. He says that the original text of Elijah’s encounter with God did not refer to a gentle breeze, but rather a “sound-stream of silence”. What a breathtaking phrase! That sounds like contemplative prayer to me. I wove that thought together with the power of the Word and the light/dark images in the first creation story in Genesis and the beginning of John, along with the eschatological references from the end of Revelations. I wanted to touch upon the interior void/darkness as well, and the expectant hope of the Word in the individual.
The third verse uses a mix of Aramaic and English and is based upon the Lord’s Prayer. It essentially says “Our Father in heaven, deliver us from evil. Hallowed be Thy name forever and ever. Amen”. I memorized the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic during a time when praying in English was too painful.
— Maria Deasy (December 2016)
The Rev. Joani Peacock, Editor for Emmanuel Voices: A Parish Blog