In our youth group, we looked into the Scriptural background on various Christmas songs including this one, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and I enjoyed looking at the Scripture so much that I thought I’d share it here.
As a note, the pattern this song follows is that it pulls out a specific name of God, and the character/position it implies, and then applies that name of God to our lives and how He relates to us.
This song brings an incredible tension between our active and living hope in God and the reality that we still live in a sinful, broken world. Jesus has brought us hope for eternity, and even hope in our lives today, but He also calls us to look towards the future when sin and death are completely removed.
Below is the first verse in the song:
Emmanuel (God With Us)
“Emmanuel” is probably the most famous name of God to be used in the Christmas season and comes from two verses, one is prophecy and the other is the fulfillment of that propehcy:
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel.”Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23
This “Emmanuel,” this “God with us” is God drawing near to a world that has become captive to sin and, consequently, exiled from the kingdom of God.
“And they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”2 Timothy 2:26
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”Galatians 5:1
Additional verses: Isaiah 35:10, John 8:34, Acts 8:23, Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:18, Psalm 68:18, Ephesians 4:8
The Blessing of Emmanuel
The beautiful reality of “Emmanuel” is that
When we were captives and dead in our sin,
When we were far from God,
When there was nothing we could do…
God drew near to us.
God took action.
One of the most famous Christmas prophecy’s is Isaiah 9:6 which begins with,
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given”
God gave His Son.
We had nothing to offer,
Nothing to give,
Nothing to contribute.
But God did.
To get “God with you” you can’t earn, deserve, purchase, or do anything on your own.
It’s simply a gift God gives.
Will you receive God’s gift of nearness this Christmas season?