Psalm 45:10-11, 13-15

Listen to me, O royal daughter; take heart to what I say. Forget your people and your homeland far away. For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. [...] The bride, a princess, waits within her chambers, dressed in a gown woven with gold. In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king, accompanied by her bridesmaids. What a joyful, enthusiastic procession as they enter the king's palace!

Monday, December 24, 2007

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

One of my favorite times of the year is Christmas, especially when I have the chance to reflect and write on the spirit and reason for all the celebration that takes place this time of year. Usually I e-mail to my family and friends, but this year I'll leave it here.



Throughout the years my favorite Christmas song has changed as I grew. I remember as a child I loved the chiming of Silver Bells. The imagery the song paints captivated me as I imagined city sidewalks in the snow ladened silvery night. In my teen years The First Noel won my heart as it told the Christmas story in beautiful simplicity invoking the majesty of such a wondrous night.

The last few years a new song has captivated my heart. An unexpected song that wasn't familiar to me as a child. There's a deep mystery and beckoning in this hymn. It's even haunting in its own way as it calls out with its deep chords.

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

It's a plea of the people of God: Save us! Rescue us! Deliver us from our misery!

The Son of God has appeared!

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emanuel shall come to thee, O Israel

God is with us, bless the Lord that He has come. He has come as the Lord declared! He has surely come to ransom the faithful ones of Israel. Isn't it amazing? God was born as a baby. But He wasn't born so that we may exchange presents and have a lovely vacation. He was born for a purpose--to glorify the Father by living then dying as our ransom. The beautiful Christmas story is a story not only of joy and redemption, but of ransom. A Son being led to the slaughter.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Rejoice! Rejoice! The captives of sin are being ransomed. Praise the Lord for such a precious and selfless gift. Christmas reminds us of the freedom we have received from Satan's reign of tyranny. Jesus has exalted the Father's name by gaining victory over the grave and imputing that victory to us. So, good Christian family rejoice! There is so much richness in this hymn. God is with us as our Emmanuel and ransom. He has paid our ransom and given us victory in life and in death through His own death and resurrection.

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.

Emmanuel surely has come. He has come as the desire of nations. How could we not desire One so worthy, glorifying, and self-sacrificing? He has given us, a people so unworthy, everything we need and more. He has surely won our hearts. Bless the Lord that He has chosen us as His people!

O Lord, come! You cease our strivings, our divisions. Cast our eyes upon Yourself, as our Light adn King of Peace. Lord, You have brought peace to our minds, our hearts, and our souls. And even more You have paid the ransom and brought peace between us and the Father. We worship You and are humbled by You,


1 comment:

Brandon Wade said...

Sufjan Stevens and Aaron Shust both do excellent versions of that song. I would agree that it was my most captivating song this year.