What Christmas Means to Me | Day 4: O Come, O Come Emmanuel
For some reason, I never really came across the Christmas carol O Come, O Come Emmanuel until I was an adult. It is a little more obscure compared to Joy to the World and Silent Night, and “Emmanuel” isn’t quite the lingo we throw around in conversation. But when I heard a version done by Seattle band Citizens on a Christmas EP, I fell in love with the hymn.
In the song, it takes us back to old Israel and the waiting and longing for the first coming of their Messiah:
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
The word Emmanuel means “God with us,” and you can imagine the desire for Israel to welcome its coming king—that God’s king might walk among them. But what’s so clever about the hymn is that it serves a double meaning. As we sing it at Christmas, it’s a reminder that we too are awaiting Jesus’s arrival.
This is what I’ve learned to love about Christmas through this hymn: we celebrate an extraordinary gift from God—the coming of Emmanuel as a baby—which helps us look ahead to the time when He will return. Perhaps this is a song we should sing all year round as, like Israel, we wait with longing, but also with confidence in Jesus and all He has achieved for us.
Written by SAM ROBINSON
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