O COME, O COME, EMMANUEL….
“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is considered one of the oldest Christian hymns, dating back to the 800’s AD. The words and music to this hymn were developed separately, many years apart. Initially, this “prayer” was offered by ancient Monks as part of “Vespers” during the Advent Season and was based on the O Antiphons used by the Church to this day. John Mason Neale, an Anglican priest and hymn writer, discovered the ancient manuscript and put the prayer to music in the 19th Century.
As with many of the hymns sung and heard during this time of year, there is little attention paid to the sacred meaning behind the lyrics. This hymn’s gift of reflection prompts us to consider the two-fold purpose of the Season of Advent – that of celebrating the birth of Jesus as well as preparing our hearts for His return. It is the melding of the Old and New Testaments – a meditation on the cry of the Israelites who were held in captivity by the Babylonians, longing for their rescue by the Messiah, and our preparing today, waiting for His return.
In studying the Scriptures, one learns that often times the authors would use “hidden meanings” in their writings that would be understood by the Christians of the time in which they were written. Inspired authors, teachers and composers have, in many of their writings and methods, followed suit. One of the most fascinating studies was presented by Daniel Im, a teaching pastor at The Fellowship Church in Nashville, Tenn., in which he points out that in the original seven verse
A CHRISTMAS PRAYER
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Help us remember
the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in
the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and the worship of the wise men
Close the door of hate
and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift
and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing
which Christ brings,
and teach us to be merry with clean hearts.
May the Christmas morning
make us happy to be thy children,
and Christmas evening bring us to our beds
with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven,
for Jesus’ sake.
s of the O Antiphons that were written in Latin, each of the verses began with a Messianic title from Scriptures that foreshadowed and prophesied the coming of Jesus:
O Sapentia (Wisdom,)
O Adonai (God,)
O Radix Jesse (root of Jesse,)
O Clavis David (Key of David,)
O Oriens (Dayspring,)
O Rex genitium, (King of the Gentiles,)
O Emmanuel (God with us.)
When the first letters of the second word of each verse are printed, they spell out “SARCORE,” which, when read backwards translates to “Ero cras,” meaning, “I shall be with you tomorrow.” How awesome is the way in which our God connects with us – let us make sure our hearts and minds are uncluttered so as to be ready to receive His messages.
Submitted by Marguerite Mullins