The more that I’ve studied the book of Isaiah, the more I’ve been drawn to this old hymn. Its words were penned by an unknown author, perhaps as early as the 12th century, and these words have stood the test of time. Each verse echoes prophetic themes from Isaiah of the Messiah to come that Israel had so long awaited. You can hear the desperation in the words, a longing for the Savior to come and dwell with men. Emmanuel, God with us.
As you read through the words, imagine the anticipation and expectancy. A long awaited Savior had come, the One who would redeem God’s people. Truly a cause for celebration. Rejoice! Rejoice! As we eagerly anticipate December 25th and all that it will entail, let us not forget whom we celebrate. Emmanuel, God with us. He has come for us.
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.