Advent Is the Silence between Notes

Trygve and Kristen Johnson

READ : Matthew 1:18-23

Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

(chorus to “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”)

Advent is the season to prepare ourselves for the return of Christ, even as we prepare to celebrate his birth. Unfortunately, this focus is easily lost in a holiday blitz of stringing lights, shopping, and eating enough to justify New Year’s resolutions. But fortunately, the spirit of it all is kept alive in our songs. Advent is a singing season. And in the church, it is when we sing some of our best.

One of our favorites is “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” It is a song of longing, a song that falls between the first quiet note of the inauguration of God’s kingdom in Jesus’ birth and the final resounding chord of its future consummation in his return. Historically, we are living in between the two notes: Christ has come, and Christ will come again.

Advent is the silence between these notes. Silence gives sound its resonance. Longing gives feeling to hope. So in the between time separating Jesus’ first and second Advents, we sing songs like “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” We sing in anticipation of a day when God will finish what he started in Jesus Christ.


God, this Advent give us an ear to hear the silence between the notes.