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Sunday Serenade: O Come O Come Emmanuel

One thing I miss about the “good old days” is traditional choir music. Modern church music has its place, I suppose, but in my opinion nothing beats a good old classic hymn.

Here’s a beautiful arrangement of an Advent classic.

Nice. So what’s it mean? Today marks the beginning of the season of Advent, which many Christians observe as a time of waiting and preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth at Christmas. This 19th-century translation of a very old hymn expresses ancient Israel’s longing for a Savior. The first line says, “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.” It sounds rather sad, but actually expresses hope and the firm belief that a Savior WILL come, and he will be called Emmanuel (which means “God with us”), and he will be the Son of God. (All of these terms–Savior, Emmanuel, and Son of God–describe Jesus Christ.)

Far from being sad, this is good news! In a world dark with sin, God is sending a light. And in this song the people are saying, “Bring it on!”

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