O Come, O Come Emmanuel


Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel. Isaiah 7:14

Hello, it’s been a few weeks since I have written. Over the next week I want to share some thoughts on my three most favorite sacred Christmas songs.

Today I share O Come, O Come Emmanuel. I do not remember hearing this Christmas carol in my youth; perhaps I did; but I have heard it many times in my adult life and it speaks to me every time I hear it. O Come, O Come Emmanuel speaks to the coming of the Son of God to earth through a virgin, of His Holy nature, of His wisdom, of His dominion, of His rest, and of His redeeming ability.

In Isaiah 7:14 the Bible promised to send the Son of God to Earth and that his very name would be Emmanuel. We are given the promise again in Matthew 1:23, Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. In verse 25 we read that Mary brought forth her firstborn son and called his name Jesus! The promise of ages past had been fulfilled.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel mentions to Rod of Jesse who will save us and gain victory over death. And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears (Is 11:1-3).

Isaiah tells us that Emmanuel will also be the Root of Jesse in verse 11:10, And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. Christ was proclaimed the dayspring (the dawn that brightens the dark shadows of death) from on high by Za­cha­ri­as, the father of John the Baptist as he was prophesying his child’s ministry: Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us (Luke 1:78).

All people and all nations seek Emmanuel; He is the Desire of Nations: And I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the LORD of hosts (Haggai 2:7). Emmanuel (Christ) is the God of wisdom: For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding (Pro 2:6). We read above from Isaiah 11:2 that wisdom and understanding shall rest upon the Rod of Jesse.

He grants perfect peace. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee (Is 26:3). Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27). Yet to have perfect peace, the wicked will have to destroyed and Emmanuel will do. But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked (Is 11:4). Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel (Ps 2:9). He is the king of Kings: That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting (1 tim 6:14-16).

The original lyrics to O Come, O Come Emmanuel were penned in Latin at least 900 years ago by Catholic clergy though some of the verses may date to 500 AD. The Latin version was used as antiphons, or responsorial readings, over days leading up the Christmas. The Latin verses were translated to English in 1851 by John Neale; the verses were set to Livera me, a fifteenth century dirge, by Thomas Helmore in 1856. Today, O Come, O Come Emmanuel is one of the most song carols across the Christian world in Baptist, protestant and Catholic churches and has been professional recorded by numerous secular artists.

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Refrain: 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.

Refrain

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.

Refrain

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.

Refrain

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.

Refrain

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.

Refrain

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.

Refrain

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

Refrain

Sources: King James Version of the Holy Bible, http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com and http://www.cyberhymnal.org

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2 Responses to O Come, O Come Emmanuel

  1. T. says:

    O come, O come, Emmanuel historically has been regarded as
    an Advent hymn, not a Christmas hymn,
    and traditionally is sung during the season of Advent, which ends
    on Christmas Eve. Because commercial establishments tend to
    celebrate the pre-Christmas selling season,
    which also ends on Christmas Eve, it is easy to forget that the
    Christian Twelve Days of Christmas — the Christmas season —
    begins on Christmas and continues to
    the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6.

  2. Pingback: Silent Night | Hymns in My Heart

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