3 Things We Can Learn From the Song “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”

I love Christmas.

I’m grateful for something special and hopeful to celebrate in the middle of a cold, dark December. When everything outside is turning brown and gray, I need reminding hope, peace, and joy are still very real.

One Christmas song that always fills me with hope is “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” The melody is so delightfully moody and unexpectedly hopeful. Although I grew up singing this song every Christmas, I never really paid attention to the lyrics. Which is sad because the lyrics are the best part!

Here are 3 lessons “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” taught me. 

1) Life is Filled with Suffering

“O come, O Come Emmanuel

And randsome captive Israel

That morns in lonely exile here

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall Come to Thee, O Israel”

When I read these lyrics, I can’t help but envision the desperation of a pre-Christ world. A place stained with sin, filled with death, and the promise of a savior left unfulfilled. How abandoned God’s people must have felt. How fervently they must have mourned for a Savior. 

Today doesn’t seem any different. Death, disease, loneliness, and sorrow are still present. I find myself, just like God’s people in the Bible, crying out for a Savior to come soon.

2) God Remembers His Promises

“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.”


But God didn’t abandon His people. One night, God sent his Son to be born in a little manger, and everything changed.

Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, this broken world found redemption and renewed purpose. What was broken is now restored through the blood of Jesus. 

God’s people now had a reason to rejoice! Hope flooded the earth.

 3) Jesus is Coming Again

“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?”

What I love most about this song is it still applies. Although Christ died and triumphed over death, we still live in a world stained with sin.

Living in this in-between time where God’s kingdom has been fulfilled but not fully established here on earth, is hard. It’s a time where we are crying out, just like the God’s people did so long ago, for Emmanuel to come.  And we can rest assured that Jesus’ promise will be fulfilled. He will come again.

I hope that no matter what you are facing this Christmas you will be filled with a glorious hope. I hope you rest knowing God is with you and He will disperse the gloomy clouds in your life.

It can be easy to lose hope during the Christmas season.

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