O Come, Thou Day-Spring, Come and Cheer

We are a people of longing – longing for true joy, for true satisfaction, for true life.

We have many methods for escaping that longing. We drink it away, we sex it away, we work it away, we can even try to church it away – and yet it persists. The treadmill of life and the disappointment therein remains. We are longing for what only Jesus can bring, just as Israel was longing for centuries for the coming of God’s chosen One who would be their deliverer.

 

“O Come O Come Emmanuel” was originally written in Latin, first documented in Germany in 1710. The tune for the words was created separately, and first linked with the hymn in 1851.

The song is played in a minor key, which is fitting, since it is a song that expresses the deep longing of our souls. We, in our brokenness, know that all it not indeed well, and we are reminded of it every day. We are reminded of our great fallenness in our homes, in our world, and even in our most silent moments when we look inside ourselves. We are a people of longing – longing for true joy, for true satisfaction, for true life.

True enough, we have many methods for escaping that longing. We drink it away, we sex it away, we work it away, we can even try to church it away – and yet it persists. The treadmill of life and the disappointment therein remains. We are longing for what only Jesus can bring, just as Israel was longing for centuries for the coming of God’s chosen One who would be their deliverer.

And while Israel longed for a physical delivery, we know now that our physical deliverance from circumstantial tribulation is only a shadow of the greater deliverance we need, and therefore the greater longing that permeates every experience of our lives. In this mournful, but hopeful, tune we find these lyrics:

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

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