O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
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, O Israel.
O come O come, Emmanuel. Come God, come be with us.
Whenever I feel overwhelmed, which seems to be more often than not these days, my heart cries out these words. The quiet longing, the desperate plea that resonates from these verses perfectly captures the yearning for peace and deliverance that I experience on a daily basis. I need Emmanuel to come again and again.
But this song is more than a reflection of my own feelings, or even of the state of current world events. It is a reminder that God will reconcile the world to himself. It is a picture of confident hope.
It may seem impossible to find such hope amidst all the despair in the world, but the song tells us to rejoice. The key word for me is in the first verse: ransom. God is willing to sacrifice something, to pay the price, in order to save me from whatever holds me captive. God wants to get me back to where I belong, to reunite me with himself. The idea that God desires to be with me in my struggles and rescues me from them through the coming of Jesus is astonishing.
Jesus, Emmanuel, comes to drive away the shades of night. He is the light that pierces the darkness and the light that can never be extinguished.
Whatever is holding you captive – Jesus will come. Whatever you are mourning, whatever exile you are experiencing – Jesus will come. God is with us, and he shall come again and again.
— Meganne Gould