O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

candleO 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.

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
All peoples in one heart and mind;
Bid envy strife and quarrel cease,
Fill all the world with Heaven’s peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Words by Unknown Monks, 12th Century, (translated in 1851 by John M. Neale)
Music by Franciscan Nun, 15th Century

 


Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.”
Matthew 1:22 – 23

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
1 Peter 3:18

the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
Matthew 4:16

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:4 – 5

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Luke 2:10 – 12

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ
2 Corinthians 5:18 – 19


 

It was a time of darkness. Their land had been conquered. Their people oppressed under the rule of their conquerors. Some of their very own had aligned with their conquerors and ruled over them. The people were crying out for a Savior. They sought for God to come to their aid and be with them.

Their cry echoes down through the ages. When we look around us, do we seem better off? Around the world oppression continues. In our own homes we too often see envy, strife and quarreling that divides us from one another. We still seek God to be with us. The world continues to cry out for a Savior, for a God who cares.

It is this same desire that is shared by the original writers of the hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” almost 800 years ago. The five words that begin this hymn, and by which we know its name, lay out the deepest desire of all the world. “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” Emmanuel is a descriptive title meaning “God With Us.” Therefore the real cry of their hearts is, “God, come to be with us.”

Our cry, as those who came before, did not go unheard. God came to us, in the form of a baby. An infant child who could find no place to lay his head, so his mother laid him in a manger. This was the fulfillment of the prophecy given by Isaiah. (Matthew 1:23)

And so He came to save a people in oppression. But not the oppression that comes from the forces of this world. He came to save us from the oppression of sin and death which rule our lives. So the hymn continues, “And ransom captive Israel, That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear.”

God heard the cry of Israel and sent His Son, Jesus to be the ransom for Israel. And by God’s great grace, he is not just the ransom for Israel, be the ransom for all mankind from the sin that separates us from God. (1 Peter 3:18)

Yes the darkness surrounds us, so the hymn declares, “O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer Our spirits by Thine advent here; Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, And death’s dark shadows put to flight.” (Matthew 4:16) The darkness of the night and the shadows of death can not stand before the light of Christ. (John 1:4 – 5)

This light shines through the ages, for the good news is to all mankind. (Luke 2:10 ) So the hymn ends with these words, “O come, Desire of nations, bind All peoples in one heart and mind Bid envy strife and quarrel cease Fill all the world with Heaven’s peace.” Christ came to reconcile all people with God. (2 Corinthians 5:18 – 19) A reconciliation that is available only though His son, Jesus Christ. “

So for those who have believed in Him, it is a declaration of praise. And for those who do not know Him, may it be a prayer of hope. As we join together and declare, “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.”

 

 

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