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O Come, O Come Emmanuel

12 Dec

A fifth post in a series of meditations upon the lyrics of popular Christmas carols. (Silent Night, from 12/3, was the first in the series.)

Today’s meditations come from the song “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” This song has always perplexed me a bit, primarily because of its rather somber-sounding music, which is somehow to support a rather joyful refrain.

Note: You may sometimes see the word “Emmanuel” spelled “Immanuel”–the difference is owing to the Greek interpretation (using an “E”) of the Hebrew word (which begins with “I”). Immanuel does break down as “im” (with), “manu” (us), “el” (God), and so yields the classic meaning of “God with us.”

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

There are many variations on the verses of this hymn; I have selected only a few to reflect on below and referenced them by the main word of their opening line.

Verse 1 (Emmanuel): Come demonstrate Your nearness to us, O God! Come deliver Your people, whom–although you rescued centuries ago–continue to pine for the day when the Lord will come!

Chorus: Celebrate! Be encouraged! The God who is with His people is coming indeed!

Verse 2 (Rod of Jesse): Lord, you are the rightful ruler! Come and set us free from the Devil’s sway over this world! Redeem Your people from condemnation and judgment and grant us deliverance from the sting of death!

Chorus: Celebrate! Be encouraged! The God who is with His people is coming indeed!

Verse 3 (Dayspring): You, Lord, are our Sunrise–come and bring joy and gladness to us! Override the despair and gloom of the darkness and death of this life!

Chorus: Celebrate! Be encouraged! The God who is with His people is coming indeed!

Verse 4 (Key of David): You, Lord, are the Guardian and Keeper of Your people! Open up to us the Eternal Dwelling that You have prepared! Show us the path of righteousness, and protect us from stumbling onto the road of despair.

Chorus: Celebrate! Be encouraged! The God who is with His people is coming indeed!

Verse 5 (Desire of Nations): You, Lord, are the one possible unifying factor for the whole earth! Come and grant us unity with our brothers and sisters! Override our pettiness and factions that we might all dwell together under the reign of Your peace!

Chorus: Celebrate! Be encouraged! The God who is with His people is coming indeed!

For additional verses, as well as some fantastic insight into the structure of this carol and accompanying Bible references, you may appreciate this site: http://www.rockies.net/~spirit/sermons/sr-oantiphons.php

May you find encouragement in all that the coming of our Lord means for us–as individuals, as the people of God, even for the whole world!

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2011 in Poetry, Reviews

 

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