O Adonai and ruler of the house of Israel,
Who appeared to Moses in the burning bush
And gave him the Law on Sinai:
Come with an outstretched arm
And redeem us.
“I barely recognize you.” If it’s been 20 or 30 years since you’ve seen someone, you might say say so. Well at the time of Christ’s first coming it had been about 1000 years since the revelation of God referenced in our antiphon. And there’s no way you’d recognize in the manger-babe the God who called to Moses out of the burning bush, the terrifying Lord that thundered from the mountain, gave the law to His people and killed 3,000 of them for making and worshiping the golden calf.
Yet that small voice is the same one that called to Moses from the bush and those tiny arms are the mighty right arm of the Lord who once thundered on Sinai. The appropriate reaction to this is holy fear. As Moses who took off his shoes to stand on that holy ground and then lay down before the presence of the Lord on the mountain. Yet it is so strange that this Lord, this master, should come to us so. As a child. For He who gave the law has now come to fulfill it. He who is our Lord, came to pay all our debts and redeem us from sin, death, and the devil. He whose holiness was seen then in thick cloud and smoke, in judgment and wrath, now will show that holiness in a perfect life of love and then in suffering himself underneath the black wrath of the Judge. All so that He might be your Lord again. That just as He brought His people out of Egypt with a strong arm and so redeemed them to be His people so he might also make you His own by leading you out of death and hell to be His very own.
O Come, O Come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height,
In ancient times didst give the law,
In cloud and majesty and awe:
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to Thee O Israel!