Sunday, December 22
Hymn: “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”
(ELW, No. 257, st. 5)

For certain, Joseph was miserable as he fretted about what to do about Mary. Mary, too, must have been miserable, especially as she rode that donkey into Bethlehem at eight or nine months pregnant! The nasty King Ahaz was probably miserable, knowing his people would be destroyed, and Israel was clearly miserable when they cried out to the Lord to save them from the Assyrians.

We all experience misery. Life is miserable sometimes—more often than not, perhaps—and often it is due to things out of our control.

Jesus Christ does not protect us from the misery of life. Christ does not make us immune to the pain and heartbreak that lives with us in our time here on this earth. But he does make sure that we are not abandoned to it. Through Jesus Christ, the path into the ultimate misery of separation from God is closed off forever.

Jesus, Emmanuel, you are with us in our misery. You are with us when our worlds come crashing down. Your presence alone is the presence of heaven in our lives. Thank you. Amen.

From O Come, O Come Emmanuel, a publication of Luther Seminary. Used with permission. You may download O Come, O Come Emmanuel via this link. If you subscribe to Luther Seminary’s God Pause, you will receive O Come, O Come, Emmanuel in your email inbox each day of Advent. If you’re not a God Pause subscriber, sign up here and select “God Pause Daily Devotions.” You’ll continue to receive daily God Pause devotions, written by Luther Seminary alumni, after Advent ends.

Writers: Michael Binder ’17, Affiliate Faculty in Congregational Mission and Leadership; Amy Marga, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology. Theological Editor: James L. Boyce ’71, Professor Emeritus of New Testament and Greek. Cover photo by Elizabeth Explores on Unsplash.