Rejoice! God is With Us by Phyllis Clemmons

All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow
our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. Isaiah 53:6 (NLT)

It was Christmas Eve. I awoke with a feeling of turmoil in the pit of my
stomach as we approached the entrance leading to the new boarding
school I would attend. The gate slowly opened and I could hear chapel
bells in the distance chiming a hymn.

Oh come, oh come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel. That mourns in

lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear. Rejoice, rejoice Emmanuel,

shall come to you, O Israel.

Emmanuel. God with us.

The hymn tells the story of Israel, like sheep, wandering away from God.
Held prisoner by their sin, they longed for the promised Savior, who paid
the ransom owed and led the captives into the presence of God; the relationship
restorer and intercessor for transgressors.

The Savior’s sacrifice, born out of love for mankind, couldn’t be limited
to Israel alone, but His invitation of salvation extends to all.

For me, the hymn was an introduction to freedom from the bondage of
old things; the gate closure behind us, symbolic of new beginnings.
As the van rambled down the narrow path, now at peace, hopeful and
expectant I welcomed the new future laid out before me.

Lord, Thank you for taking my place at Calvary
and for your plans for my future. Amen

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