Saturday, December 6, 2008

Then Sings My Soul Saturday - A Timeless Christmas Hymn

After studying the Old Testament a year or two ago and following the Israelites from their very beginnings when God called Abram to a new land, to their bondage in Egypt, wandering through the desert, to the Promised Land, into exile and back, through their many trials and triumphs, times of disobedience and failure as well as times of faith and victory, and then grasping what 400 years of silence must have been like after hearing God's voice & His word through His prophets, Christmas took on such a fresh new meaning for me.

I began to get just a small taste of how desperately they longed for their promised Messiah's arrival. We've never known what it was like to live in the days before Christ's birth. To wait. And watch. And long. It gives fresh meaning to the beautiful promise found in the prophecy from Isaiah:

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2
I have come to love an ancient Christmas song from the 12th century. And as we sing it to commemorate and celebrate the Messiah's birth 2000 years ago, many of the words are also relevant to today as we long for Christ's return. I especially love the last verse.

My girl loves the music of Barlow Girl, and these sisters have a beautiful arrangement of this wonderful hymn on their brand-new CD, Home for Christmas.


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 Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
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, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Latin Text (12th Century)
Translated in 19th century

Find more songs to bless your weekend at Amy's!


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Debbie said...

I love the older songs like this. Thanks for posting the words too. I enjoyed hearing this group sing it so well.

Mel said...

Beautiful...what a wonderful way to start my morning

He And Me + 3 said...

This was just beautiful. I love the Barlow girls. They can really sing. Awesome!

Peggy said...


Michelle Sybert said...

hauntingly beautiful....leaves me reflecting on Him

Amy(the Sleepy Reader) said...

This is my favorite Christmas song, hands down.

My daughter is a huge Barlow Girls fan and she found this song on iTunes and of course we had to have it. :)

Cathy said...

Very pretty ~

Jennifer said...

One of my all time favorite CHRISTmas hymns.

Thanks for sharing....Happy TSMSS!

Xandra@Heart-of-Service said...

This is one of my favorite Christmas family sang it in four part harmony last Christmas Eve at our candlelight service. I get chills every time I sing it.


Jill said...

I just bought this CD for myself last week - I LOVE IT! This song is amazing! My daughter was like hey Mom I'm the one who likes Barlow Girl - ha!

God bless,

samantha said...

I love this song but had never heard this particular arrangement before. It is beautiful!!

Peggy said...

Blessings Linda...Barlow Girls certainly have done "O Come Emmanuel" so beautifully!!!

This was a very personalized understanding of the great desire of longing for the Messiah! I appreciate that you added your insights!

I'm so glad & thankful every time I come to hear what you share! Thank you for adding such a beautiful song of rejoicing. May you enjoy this season preparing & awaiting the Messiah!

Peggy from Amazing Grace...

Peggy said...

One more quick note...I noticed with both ended our Thanksgiving with a toast of Dr. Pepper! Love it! Hard to come by here but I drink it instead of coffee, which I've never drunk...just Dr.Pepper!

Beverlydru said...

This song is awesome. I love Barlow Girl.

I received my book today!! (My Mother's Wish) I'm going to read it (handling very carefully) so I can determine who in my family to gift it to. Thank you so much.