It’s December, and I am already hearing my favorite Christmas songs on the radio, at home, and in our worship services. One song that brings back memories of my childhood, and still stirs something deep within my soul, is “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” Here is the first verse:
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 you, O Israel.
Initially, one might wonder why this hymn is associated with Christmas. The answer is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God – Emmanuel, “God with us” (Matthew 1:22-23) – was born into this fallen world to bring salvation to everyone who believes: first to the children of Israel and then to the entire world (Luke 4:14-21, Romans 1:16). In fact, mankind had been awaiting the Savior since before recorded history, when God declared to Satan in the Garden of Eden:
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.
(Genesis 3:15, NIV)
God’s promise that the Messiah would crush Satan was fulfilled in another garden – the Garden of Gethsemane – when Jesus chose to do His Father’s will even unto death (Luke 22:42) and then died on the cross to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29, 12:31-33; Mark 10:45; Matthew 20:28; Colossians 1:19-20; Ephesians 1:3-7).
And by His grace, we are saved (Ephesians 2:8).
Saved from sin.
Saved from death.
Saved from the grip of hell itself.
Take a few minutes today to do a Google search for “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” Select the video or audio recording that speaks to you (you will have plenty of choices), listen to the words, and let the music wash over you.
Because after two thousand years, Jesus Christ is still Emmanuel, and His grace is still amazing.
-- Dr. John Morris