“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is my favorite Advent hymn. Growing up, I didn’t know what Advent was, and I had absolutely no idea there was such a thing as an Advent hymn. They were all just Christmas songs to me. Now every year I wait with great anticipation until I can hear those beautiful strains:

O come, O come, Emmanuel, /

And ransom captive Israel, /

That mourns in lonely exile here, /

Until the Son of God appear. /

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel /

Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Israel has been in Exile for longer than it has existed as a state; and that is counting all the ons and offs throughout history. Indeed, the Children of Israel were in Exile in their captivity in Egypt. Then they wandered in the Wilderness. They had a Kingdom for a while and then they endured exile under a series of empires, and they continue to do so until this very day.

As Christians, we consider ourselves a part of that. We are a people in Exile. Our kingdom is not of this world.

This state of Exile is a hard thing to understand, but maybe this year with lockdowns and social distancing, we might have some small idea of how that feels.

We are cutoff. We are excluded. We are alone. In so many cases, our connection to others is filtered through a computer screen. While having that screen, that connection, is better than nothing, it is not the same. We are missing something. There is a hole in our hearts.

We await a Savior.

Some thought it to be the President; some thought it to be his medical advisors. Some said it would be Science; some are still saying that.

But if science gives us a solution that requires us to do something — and that is the only type that is being offered — and if we don’t do it, then we will not be saved.

It is as in the Days of Noah: If the only way out of the way of the Flood is on the Ark and you don’t get on it, then you will be lost.

Science is not our Savior.

Emmanuel is God with Us. As Christians we believe, Jesus is God with us, but God is also with us in terms of Wisdom. It can’t be said often enough that Wisdom is not the same as knowledge. Knowledge gives me the means of making bombs in my basement; Wisdom tells me not to.

O come, O Wisdom from on high,

who ordered all things mightily;

to us the path of knowledge show

and teach us in its ways to go.

Let us use knowledge with Wisdom.

We are in this coldest, darkest, loneliest part of the year, and we await a Savior.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel /

Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Bobby Winters, a native of Harden City, Oklahoma, blogs at redneckmath.blogspot.com and okieinexile.blogspot.com. He invites you to “like” the National Association of Lawn Mowers on Facebook.