December 14 – O Come O Come Emmanuel (A Christmas Carol Advent)





This song is a translation of the Catholic Latin Text Veni, Veni Emmanuel by John Mason Neale in the mid-1800’s.  Veni, Veni Emmanuel may date back to the 8th or 12th century.

Commentary & Analysis

This song is steeped in theology.  The verses of this song all follow the same pattern.  The first line of each verse introduces one of the names or descriptions of Christ:

  1. Emmanuel [Matthew 1:23]
  2. Lord of Might [Isaiah 9:6]
  3. Rod of Jesse [Isaiah 11:4]
  4. Dayspring [Luke 1:78]
  5. Key of David [Revelation 3:7]
  6. Wisdom from On High [James 3:17]
  7. Desire of Nations [Psalm 96:3]

Each of these means of addressing God is followed by something that has or will be done by Christ.  The first verse, addressed to “Emmanuel” (God with us) speaks of the redemption of Israel.  The Bible tells us that Christ came to his own (Israel) but was rejected by them.  The second verse speaks to the law given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai.  The third and fourth verses refer to Christ’s victory over Satan and death respectively.  The fifth verse speaks to Jesus opening the doors to our heavenly home.  The sixth verse speaks to God bringing order to the universe at his second coming, and the seventh verse speaks to the unity that comes through Christ.

Questions for further Reflection / Devotion

The following questions are meant for your reflection and or devotion.  Feel free to meditate on them, discuss them with your family or others or post your responses here.  I would love to hear from you.

  1. For many, Christmas starts with the birth of Christ in the New Testament.  How, if at all, do you incorporate the Old Testament into your celebration of Christmas?
  2. In his death on the cross, Jesus freed us from the grasp of Satan and death.  Reflect on that truth and consider what it should mean in terms of how you live your life.
  3. When you picture the house that Jesus went to prepare for us in heaven, what do you picture?
  4. In Christ, there is no division.  How do you live your life in unity with other Christians who are not like you?
  5. This Christmas, spend at least one hour praying to the Prince of Peace.  Tell him what you’re feeling this holiday season.  Thank him for taking on human form to come pay the price for our sin.  Ask him what you can do to bring glory to his name this Christmas season.


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, O come, Thou Lord of Might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,
In ancient times didst give the law,
In cloud, and majesty, and awe. Refrain

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. Refrain

O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight. Refrain

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery. Refrain

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
And order all things, far and nigh;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And cause us in her ways to go. Refrain

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. Refrain

Return to a Christmas Carol Advent index page.

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