By Beth Horn
In Call the Midwife’s 2012 Christmas special, Sister Evangelina and Nurse Lee assist an older woman, Mrs. Jenkins, living in dire poverty. She is alone, living in an abandoned building, and the filth is almost tangible through the screen. While Sister Evangelina burns the outer garments to curb infestation, Nurse Lee must use Vaseline to remove Mrs. Jenkins’ shoes because they are stuck to her skin. Once the shoes are off, we briefly see open sores, toenails so long they are curling, and infection that has caused the big toe to swell twice its size and change color. Wretchedness but a reality for many. The scene shifts to Nurse Lee and Sister Evangelina removing Mrs. Jenkins undergarments and bathing the layers of dirt away. There is no dialogue, but “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” enters as the background music. The juxtaposition of music and motion is beautiful.
As tears slipped from my eyes while I watched, my heart joined with the music in crying out and longing for the Redeemer. “Come, Emmanuel! Come, save us from poverty of the body, poverty of society, and poverty of the soul! Come, cleanse away the dirt we have wallowed in for far too long! This is not how it was meant to be. Come, redeem us into Your beautiful bride! Come, set us free! How much longer must we wait? We are ready to rejoice!”
We are in the season of expecting. Expecting the second coming of our Lord, expecting our hope to become sight, expecting that the world will be once again as it should be. And it will be!
“And the ransomed of the LORD shall return
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads’
they shall obtain gladness and joy,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”
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