So I know that its over two months past Christmas, but I just cannot get over the power of this song! My favorite version is by Bethany Dillon. It is slow and mournful. I played it for two musician friends of mine, Dave and James. Dave plays the classical guitar, James the cello. James hated it. He said it was too sad. But Dave said that it was how the song was supposed to be-it is a cry from God's Chosen People.
Here it is:
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appears
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel
O come, O come, great Lord of might
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe
O come, desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease
And be Thyself our King of Peace
Oh He shall come, O He shall come
Shall come to thee, O Israel
Has come to thee, O Israel
Just like Dave said, the song is a plea! The title comes from Isaiah 7:14: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Immanuel itself means "God be with us" in the original Hebrew. The Hebrews are asking the LORD to be with them, to come and rescue them. They will be lonely exiles wherever they go "Until the Son of God appears." They were strangers in the land of Egypt, and will remain as such until they receive the Promised Land.
Rejoice Israel! There is the everlasting promise of the Messiah. He has come! The LORD has given the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai, appearing in a cloud that awed all who saw it. The people are pleading God to bind mankind's heart and together with its broken self, to bring about the everlasting Peace that only He can bring.
The LORD has come. And the LORD will come. It is a prayer. It is a promise. It is a hope.