“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
I have always loved the Christmas hymn “O Come O Come Emmanuel.” There’s just something about it –the verses have a beautiful, almost mysterious sound that crescendos into a heartfelt hallelujah of “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!” It speaks to my heart. What an appropriate response to the coming of Jesus, the Savior of our souls….and oh, how desperately we need a savior.
We live in a fallen, sinful world that is a far cry from what God intended. Just look at some of the words in verse 1 of the hymn: captive, lonely, exile….all are perfect descriptors of our state of separation from our Godly Father. Israel was anxiously awaiting relief from the crushing burden of captivity, both physical and spiritual, as well as the restoration of their relationship with God. We know in our hearts that this is not how God intended things to be, and our souls long for more. Romans 8:19-21 describes the burden of sin and our desire to be freed from it: “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
This freedom was secured in Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” The long-expected savior arrived as a helpless baby and dwelt among man for roughly 30 years before he offered up His life for us “as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith” (Romans 3:25). Yes, we still live in a fallen world, but sin no longer has an eternal grip on us if we are in Christ. The cry for relief from bondage that rings out in Romans 8 and the verses of O Come O Come Emmanuel find resolution in Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, for God is with us. What an awesome answer to the problem of sin and separation that has existed since the fall of man – a heartfelt hallelujah of “Rejoice!” is the only appropriate response! We have MUCH in Christ, friends, and MUCH to rejoice about.
What is your favorite Christmas Song?
Share with us what you are rejoicing about this Christmas.