O Come, O Come Emmanuel (12/9/21)
Mark Barbee

One of the titles of Christ is Emmanuel. We usually only hear that name around Christmas. One of the oldest Christmas hymns is “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”.

The word goes back to the Isaiah 7:14 prophecy given 700 years before Christ. “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bring forth a son and will call him Immanuel.” Matthew’s gospel confirms that this is Mary and Jesus and that Immanuel means “God with us.” Matthew 1:23 (Don’t worry about the I or E spelling.)

The song includes these words:

O Come, O Come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel

That mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appears.

Jesus came to save Israel and then the whole world. He came to ransom us spiritually from sin, from spiritual exile. Then the song continues:

O Come Desire of Nations, bind

 In one the hearts of all mankind

Bid thou our sad divisions cease

And fill the world with heaven’s peace.

Rejoice, Rejoice, O Emmanuel has come to thee, O Israel.

Many in Israel did receive their King of peace. They were the first apostles and believers of the church. There were thousands in Israel within a few years. But then they spread out into the entire Roman Empire and beyond.

The believers also spread the Judeo-Christian laws of God and ethics that have guided western civilization until recently. Those same laws and values are being challenged every day, it seems. But for now we pause to celebrate the coming of Emmanuel. The prayer of the heart will lead to Jesus coming into your life to guide, restore and bring peace. No, it’s not political peace, but personal peace!

Thank you Lord, for being Emmanuel, God with us! Our faith in Jesus means that you live in us by your Holy Spirit. The babe of Bethlehem has become our King!

Thank you for peace in turbulent times around us. Thank you for peace in the midst of relationship problems, illness, or whatever this world throws at us. You are beyond it all and can carry us through. May you bless us, our church and our families during this great Christmas season! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.