O Come, O Come Emmanuel

This carol is a favourite of mine and has been around for a long time. Its origins have been lost in antiquity although it is believed that it extends back to the twelfth century, or even further to the eighth. It was originally written in Latin and is based on the prophecy from Isaiah that states that God will give Israel a sign that will be called Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14). This prophecy is fulfilled in the birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:23) who came to save people from their sins.

It is possible - perhaps even probable - that the music to this popular carol was added at a later date and is of French origin. The Latin was translated into English by John Mason Neale in 1851 - something for which the English speaking world is extremely grateful.

The words are beautiful ...

Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel,

And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, our Wisdom from on high,
Who ordered all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, oh, come, our Lord of might,
Who to your tribes on Sinai's height
In ancient times gave holy law,
In cloud and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come O Rod of Jesse's stem,
From ev'ry foe deliver them
That trust your mighty pow'r to save;
Bring them in vict'ry through the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, O Key of David, come,
And open wide our heav'nly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, our Dayspring from on high,
And cheer us by your drawing nigh,
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Oh, bid our sad divisions cease,
And be yourself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Happy Christmas as you celebrate the birth of Emmanuel!

Comments

Fox said…
Merry Christmas Jules! Hope your Christmas is blessed in special ways!
SchnauzerMom said…
Merry Christmas to you and your family. Thank you for posting those words. I don't think I've ever seen the whole song. I didn't know it was that old.
Jules said…
Merry Christmas to you too.

I had planned to do a series on Christmas carols throughout December but it just didn't work out this year. Perhaps next year ...

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