Songs of the Season: Isaiah 7:14

“Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: See, the virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Can you imagine what waiting for the Messiah was like. Here was Israel as a people with the news that one day their God had promised to come and rescue them out of all of their troubles. He was going to regather them into one place. He was going to send a deliverer who would be their strength and their shield. He was going to come and be with them. Immanuel would be His name. Then, once He came, the church was left in a season of waiting once more. And though the object of the waiting had changed some, the hope really hadn’t.

It is no wonder then that Christian monks in the eighth or ninth century AD composed a hymn that gave word to this longing, this expectant desire for the coming again of Christ the Lord to make all things new. This cry of longing rings all the more true in our hearts today as we long for relief from the brokenness of the world around us. We want redemption to be made complete. We hope for salvation to finally be delivered in full.

This is what the season of Advent is all about. Give form and substance to this great hope and expectation. It would be several generations before the hymn those monks wrote would be given the form that is more familiar to us today, but when it did, their cry of, “O come, o come, Emmanuel,” would be sung by heaven-minded believers the world over with passion and desire for that day. In a world torn asunder by troubles of every kind, His coming, His arrival is the longing of our hearts.

As you listen to today’s song of the season, one of my very favorite, reflect on the powerful reflection of desire latent in these words. This particular version from the Piano Guys adds a wonderful layer of beauty to the haunting, minor melody of this great hymn of the faith.

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

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, I Israel!

O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, I Israel!

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
And order all things far and nigh;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And cause us in her ways to go.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, I Israel!

O come, Desire of nations, bind
All peoples in one heart and mind.
Bid envy, strife, and quarrels cease;
Fill the whole world with heaven’s peace.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, I Israel!

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