In This Issue:
From the Director
O Come, O Come, Immanuel! So goes the familiar advent hymn, and so echo our hearts as we long for Christ to ransom us, to be born in us. One way Christ comes to some people is through classic Christian literature, and our mission at the CCEL is to help to make it possible for God to work in this way. The CCEL serves millions of users per year, who download the equivalent of about a million books per month.
We also distribute CDs free or at low cost in developing countries where Internet access is expensive. Over 700 CDs were distributed in this way this year. Users find them very valuable and send feedback such as this:
"Thank you so much for sending the CD to Romania for me. ... There are 75 ministers in our organization. There are 100 students in our school. It is hard to tell you how very much this means to the Romanian ministers and Bible students."
The CCEL is a non-profit organization with two full-time and four part-time employees. We are supported in part by advertisements, subscriptions, and sales, and other means, but the remainder comes from individuals. Please support our ministry in prayer. If you would also like to support the CCEL financially, you can buy a CCEL CD, purchase a subscription, or make a tax-deductible donation.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel shall come to you, O Israel!
"O Come O Come Immanuel"
This ancient Advent hymn may date back to a community of fifth-century Jewish Christians and perhaps was part of their Hanukkah festival. The text does include many elements of the Hanukkah celebration—remembrance of wilderness wandering, darkness and death, but also celebration of light (the use of candles) and, above all, wonderment about the hope for Christ's return ("O"). In the ninth century the text entered the Roman liturgy for use during Advent.
On the Incarnation by Athanasius (c. 297-373)
What, or rather Who was it that was needed for such grace and such recall as we required? Who, save the Word of God Himself, Who also in the beginning had made all things out of nothing? His part it was, and His alone, both to bring again the corruptible to incorruption and to maintain for the Father His consistency of character with all. For He alone, being Word of the Father and above all, was in consequence both able to recreate all, and worthy to suffer on behalf of all and to be an ambassador for all with the Father. For this purpose, then, the incorporeal and incorruptible and immaterial Word of God entered our world.
John Calvin on Luke 2:10:
By calling it 'great joy,' he shows us, not only that we ought, above all things, to rejoice in the salvation brought us by Christ, but that this blessing is so great and boundless, as fully to compensate for all the pains, distresses, and anxieties of the present life. Let us learn to be so delighted with Christ alone, that the perception of his grace may overcome, and at length remove from us, all the distresses of the flesh.
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