Photo by PIXNIO

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear

Yes, we know what exile feels – just a little. Knowing that we haven’t been home since August 2019, and acknowledging that 2020 is not the year we had hoped for and we aren’t traveling to be with family – in the US or Malaysia.

Pausing now, before the Lord, to acknowledge that it has taken this long for Eunice to develop empathy for the lonely exiles of Judah – 70 years away from their homeland, with each holiday and special occasion “away from home” tainted with the taste of “this is not how it should be”.  Truly a season of mourning in lonely exile.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight

Have you heard how we’ve been able to open our home to four teens and their 25-year old guide so they could participate in our church’s youth camp? You see, we can’t have large gatherings and camps aren’t open for booking because of social distancing guidelines, but we CAN have up to five guests in our home. And so, although we have no family with us, we can be with the family of God and we can show hospitality and have the sounds and energy of teens sharing a meal or a late-night walk with us.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory o’er the grave.

We have been saved from the jaws of hopelessness and despair because of Jesus’ victory. And at this season, we are reminded of His coming and His ultimate victory over death.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

And then today the Lord has abundantly provided something that I’ve missed but dared not verbalize for fear it would sound like discontent. We were able to SING praises to our Lord! Even though we’ve been meeting with the saints for worship all year, we have either had to sing with our video muted on Zoom calls or “in our hearts”, when masked with others at church. But since we had guests, in our home, we could sing praises to our Lord.

  • Even while separated from home and holiday traditions, God has grown our empathy with the exiles of the past and the present.
  • Even while away from family, God has provided a reminder that we can host guests and have the laughter of young people in our home.
  • Even though it has been hard to feel festive, we have rejoiced in song with our voices and our hearts.
  • We rejoice, for God is with us!

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” 

(which means, God with us).image by – DFNatureAwed

Merry Christmas! Rejoice!


4 thoughts on “Rejoice!”

  1. Hi Eunice and Au, I send this note from Corrie Ten Boom. “Oppositition to our lives which are yielded to Jesus Christ takes many forms, some dramatic, some subtle. In my life I have experienced opposition in the form of supernatural sounds, superficial attitudes from the self-righteous, and from with myself. I have had doubt in my heart and dryness in my prayer life. I stood on the front lines of the battle, but through Jesus it was victorious ground.”

    What shall we say to to these things? If God is for us who can be against us? Rom.8:31
    When we have fear and dispair, help us to remember that you, Jesus, have given us victory in advance, and we are bound to win the battle we face.

    1. Thank you for reminding us of the hope of the ages – during times of oppression and war and pandemic! May the Lord encourage you to rejoice in Him this Christmas, Angelo!

  2. Rejoice reminds me of the root: JOY. This season brings JOY, JOY, JOY not matter our happenstance. It’s our choice to receive it or not. Yes this year was difficult: physically, financially and relationally. There’s no promise that next year will be any better. But as Christ followers, we are challenged to endure as our Author did, for the JOY set before us. Heb 12:2

    Yes this year was challenging: sickness and even loss of a loved one, loss of income, losing the opportunity for a hug. But there is JOY in our Savior who was rejected by His own. John 1:11

    Yes, this year was uncertain: not knowing if we would test positive, wondering if the cough of a coworker was something more serious, concern over our church shutting down again under the governors order. But there is JOY in knowing the promises of the King of Kings are yea and amen in Christ. 2 Cor 1:20

    Yes there is JOY, JOY, JOY in the Redeemer who saves to the uttermost: the one across the ocean, the most down-trodden homeless person, most wayward heart. Thank you Jesus for giving us a reason to REJOICE! Thank you Eunice & Au for reminding us.

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