Update from Tim

O come, O come, Immanuel

And ransom captive Israel

That mourns in lonely exile here

Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Immanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.

“O Come, Immanuel” is my favorite Christmas hymn.  The aching tune brings two things to mind each year.

First, it reminds me that Christ has come and that He is ransoming the captives!

Second, it gives that “already, not yet” feeling to my heart—yes, Christians are already saved from our sins—hallelujah!  But we long for our ransom to be fully complete; we long for Jesus to return and to take us to be with Him.

This year, the carol has brought something new to my heart.  This is my first time celebrating Christmas away from home and, I’ll be honest, it’s tough to be gone from family.  But, what strikes me more this Christmas season is the silence in my city—the absence of people celebrating, the solemnity of people who don’t know that they should be rejoicing in God with Us.  As I look out over the silent city from my apartment, I see silent people walking through heavy coal smoke as silent mosques rise out of the fog.  The people here see no occasion to rejoice, no reason to sing praises, no grounds for joy.  Mourn with me for their blindness and their hardness of heart.

And yet, the Father is working miracles even here!  This fall, a small group of young believers has been meeting in my home for a Word study.  Last week, we read Ephesians 2:1-10 and two of the three men had never read the passage before.  I’ve been able to get more involved with a local Mongolian fellowship, and I’ve seen firsthand the Lord shaping hearts in this group.  In addition, my small bathtub will soon be used by that local fellowship for some baptisms.  (Since this blog was posted the baptisms took place!  The picture included on this post is of one of the baptisms)

In Isaiah 59:20, seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus, the Lord promised, “A Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression.”  In this season, we celebrate because God has fulfilled His promise.  The Redeemer has come!  But, as we remember the Lord’s faithfulness together, also remember the millions upon millions who do not know Him.  Ask that many of these captives would be ransomed and that they would come to rejoice 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.


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