Advent Reflection -- December 17
…the Israelites also wept again, and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”
Numbers 11: 4-6
Not long after the venture with Moses across the Red Sea bed and into the vast and arid desert, the Hebrew people were remembering days then past. Keenness of memory and the specter of hunger were fresh with them. The Hebrew people’s lament: In Egypt we had melons and cucumbers to eat”—and fish, leeks, onions, and garlic. Most likely the Hebrews had other foods as well. They may have been generations into captivity and burdened by slavery, but starvation was not an immediate concern.
For us, a barren shelf at the supermarket is bothersome, and a major ingredient absent from the pantry is an interruption in the next meal’s menu. Then, for a moment, we are captives!
Draw nigh, draw nigh Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear;
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall be born for thee, O Israel!
(J.M. Neal, 1857)