Father Steve takes a deeper look at the Advent hymn, "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," demonstrating that there is more to this song than meets the eye. The song, in revealing the fulfilled expectations of the Israelites in Christ, also reveals something wondrous about the revelation of God in Christ.
In the weeks prior to the celebration of Christmas, many Christians will sing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”- a traditional hymn of the Advent season that implores:
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” seems to be a stringing together of liturgical antiphons, derived from scriptural texts, which originates in the 12th century. This 12th century rendition appears to be a precursor of a 15th century processional hymn composed by or for a community of Franciscan nuns in France. The version that is used today was arranged in the 19th century. The eloquent words of the hymn are simultaneously lamentation and consolation, recognizing the plight of Israel while at the same time encouraging God’s chosen people to envision the day when the God of Israel will act in an extraordinary way to liberate them from the oppression of their current circumstances...