#712. O COME, O COME EMMANUEL (15/12/22)
Leading up to Christmas Day, I thought it would be good to look at 15 of the most popular carols (chosen by Classic FM listeners) and consider the content and what we can learn from them.
A reflection based on O COME, O COME EMMANUEL, number 7 in our chart of most popular carols.
LYRICS (There are various other versions)
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, Thou Rod of Jesse, free Thine own from Satan's tyranny; From depths of hell Thy people save, And give them victory o'er the grave. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Thou Dayspring, from on high, And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh; Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, And death's dark shadows put to flight. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Thou Key of David, come And open wide our heav'nly home; Make safe the way that leads on high, And close the path to misery. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Adonai, Lord of might, Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai's height, In ancient times didst give the law In cloud and majesty and awe. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.
Each of the verses calls on God using different ‘names:
i. ‘O come, O come, Emmanuel’
‘Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.’ (Isaiah 7:14
‘She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). (Matthew 1:21-23)
Emanuel means God with us. This prayer for God’s presence and help - and the promise of what His presence means - runs through this Carol. In essence, this carol proclaims that the coming of Jesus has given us all that we need and will, in the fulness of His coming in the future will fulfill what He’s already begun.
ii. ‘O come, Thou Rod of Jesse’
This name Speaks of Jesus being born like a ‘Branch’ (rod) out of David’s family line. This is teaching that Jesus’ coming brings new freedom and fruitfulness to God’s people who are grafted into Jesus (See Isaiah 11:1-3). Those who know Jesus (The Rod of Jesse) - having His new life in them- are freed from Satan’s tyranny and hell. This should fill us with hope and anticipation in the tough times of our lives.
iii. ‘O come, Thou Dayspring’
This title speaks of Jesus being: ‘the rising sun will come to us’ (Day spring). Jesus’ coming brings light and hope. His coming has begun a New Covenant and the promise of His coming and the restoration of all things (See Luke 1:78-79). As we travel through our lives we are to be filled with a vision of his coming.
iv. ‘O come, Thou Key of David’
This speaks of Jesus’ authority to act and make decisions. Although originally spoken over an earthly ruler (See Isaiah 22:22) , it is fulfilled in Christ who has the ‘keys of the Kingdom’. Of Jesus it is said:
“Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” (Revelation 1:17-18)
This encourages us to pray ‘your kingdom come’. We can pray and expect Jesus to do great things for His glory.
v. ‘O come, Adonai, Lord of might’
‘Adonai’ is Hebrew for Lord. Jesus is Lord. He has the authority and power to free His people and fulfill the plans of God in the earth. As we sing, we are to submit afresh to Jesus as Lord - this is freedom.
Each of the names of God in the Bible tell us what it means for God to be with us (Emmanuel means God with us).
TAKE A MOMENT TO LISTEN TO THIS CAROL:
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What has God been speaking to you about from your Bible reading recently?
3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group
This study is based upon our carol service on Sunday.
1. THE CHRISTMAS PROBLEM
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.’ (Matthew 1:18-19)
All of us have problems. Christmas often highlights our difficulties. Jesus was coming into the world to bring great joy, but, initially, all that Mary and Joseph could see on that first Christmas were their big problems.
ROMANS: Jesus is born into a nation that has been invaded and are being controlled by a foreign power.
PREGNANT: Mary, a virgin, is pregnant and not by Joseph her Fiancé! This was a disgrace in their culture.
DIVORCE: He was going to ‘divorce her quietly’ - end their engagement.
STABLE & MANGER: He was going to be born in a stable and manger because they were poor and disrespected. This is far from ideal!
HATED: Herod was going to try to kill Jesus. They are going to have to escape to Egypt and live in a foreign land as refugees.
They had a lot of problems on that first Christmas.
2. THE CHRISTMAS SOLUTION
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’ (Matthew 1:20-21)
For us to handle our troubles with peace, like Joseph and Mary, God wants us to know what Jesus’ name means. His name means 'God saves.'
In their many problems that first Christmas, they are told that joy will come by knowing His name is Jesus.
In the culture of Jesus’ day, names had meanings that you wanted the child to have. God gives Him the name Jesus because that’s what He will be - the Saviour.
3. RECIEVE GOD'S SOLUTION
'All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.’ (Matthew 1:22-25)
In our troubles, to know peace, we have to actually receive Jesus into our lives by putting our faith in His name. We must name Him Jesus - God who saves - for ourselves. Like Joseph, we have to 'wake up' and 'give Him the name Jesus'.
This Christmas, may we give Him the name ‘Jesus’ - may we believe that Jesus is our Saviour and invite Him into our lives.
i. Did you feel that God spoke to you from any particular aspect of Sunday's message?
ii. What are the 'names' or titles given to Jesus in Matthew 1:18-25?
ii. How does knowing the various names and titles given to Jesus help us in our lives?
iii. What other names can you think of that are given to God or Jesus?
iv. How can you grow in knowing God's names better?
PRAYER AND SIV
SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories of sharing your faith?
SIV- Let's pray for those that God has put on our hearts.