The Reason Emmanuel Came

If you missed yesterday’s blog post I have decided to take a break from the psalms and spend each day writing about the lyrics from a familiar Christmas carol. Carols often have great theological thoughts in them and so until Christmas that will be my focus. Today’s carol is O Come, O Come Emmanuel. The first line of this carol is “O come, O come, Emmanuel; and ransom captive Israel”. My first, and not particularly meaningful thought, is how lucky the hymn writer is that both the words “Emmanuel” and “Israel” rhyme! If Jesus was born in Pakistan it just wouldn’t have worked out! Good Christmas carols point out the redemptive aspect of the birth of Jesus. The people and nation of Israel were held captive by their sin and needed to be ransomed…thus the need for the birth of Jesus. Each verse of this song speaks to the liberating power of the Christ child. Though you and I do not belong to the nation of Israel, the New Testament teaches us that Jesus’ saving and liberating power is available to us. We truly can “rejoice, rejoice” that Emmanuel (which means “God with us”) has come in the form of a baby, grew to live a sinless life and laid down that life on the cross that we could be forgiven and granted eternal life. That is cause for true celebration and joy…even if like me, you have trouble hitting the high notes!


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