December 08, 2022

Christmas and Advent Hymns and their Story

“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”

Each of these seven “Great O Antiphons”, as they called, formulates a prayer addressed to the Son of God and calling upon Him to come – that is, to return on the Last Day. Each Antiphon begins with a title given to the Messiah in the Old Testament that testifies to Him as the Son of God.
December 17: O Wisdom [Proverbs 8:12, 22-31]
December 18: O Lord [Exodus 3]
December 19: O Root of Jesse [Isaiah 11:10]
December 20: O Key of David [Isaiah 22:22]
December 21: O Dayspring [Luke 1:78-79]
December 22: O King of the Nations [Haggai 2:7]
December 23: O Emmanuel [Isaiah 7:14]

Emmanuel is used most often throughout the hymn because of it’s use in Isaiah 7:14 – “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” And also in Matthew 1:22-23 – “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel (which means, God with us).”

In this hymn we pray, sing, and for Jesus to be “our King of Peace”; “peace” is said to be one of the results of the Messiah’s arrival in Haggai 2:9 – “The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the LORD of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the LORD of hosts.'”

O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.

LSB 357

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