O Come, O Come Emmanuel

We are reading through some segments of the Prophet Isaiah during this season of Advent, both on Sunday mornings as our First Lesson and again on Wednesday nights for our mid-week Worship. 

This Sunday, December 5th, we will be considering Isaiah 11:1-10.  Like so much of Isaiah’s prophecy, this passage contains a vision of hope and peace and justice and God’s coming.  Like so much of Isaiah’s prophecy, very concrete pictures are painted: of lions and lambs, nursing children and asps (poisonous snakes), a stump with a shoot now growing.  These pictures, so outside of the natural order of things, point firmly at a God whose power is beyond the natural order.

Isaiah points firmly to  a God whose power is beyond the natural order.  A God who can reverse destruction and death, bring opposites into harmony, and rules with justice. 

O Come, O Come Emmanuel is a hymn written in the 12th century.  Originally in Latin, it was translated into English in the 18oos by John Neale.  Stanza 3 is a direct allusion to Isaiah 11:

Illuminated Bible from the middle ages, depicting Jesse, David, Jesus

Oh, come, strong branch of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satans tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save
And give them vict’ry o’er the grave.
Chorus:  Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

O Come, O Come Emmanuel .  Amen.

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