There is a never-ending hope in Jesus, which is the theme for this first week of Advent. So Purple is typically the candle color for this week (click here to learn more about the candles and the traditional Advent wreath), sometimes called the Prophesy candle. You can see why in the scripture below.
All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’). –Isaiah 7:14 (NLT)
Did you spot the sign? Isaiah is foretelling a child’s arrival, born to a virgin and therefore free of all sin. His name is Immanuel which means God with us.
The seed of hope in this Old Testament verse continues growing today. And when we look closely, it is easy to see the roots of hope in Jesus spread throughout the Old and New Testaments.
We know that Jesus is the Messiah prophesied by Isaiah. And in Galatians, we see confirmation that God sent Jesus to us as a sacrifice so that He could receive to Himself all who by faith accept Jesus as Savior. And we see that while the saints of old longed for a Messiah, Jesus, we long today for His return.
Then, in the book of Galatians, Paul assures us that by faith, we are also sons and daughters of Abba, Father God, and therefore His heirs.
4 But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. 6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” 7 Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir. –Galatians 4:4-7
So, no matter what life brings your way, my friend, we have the hope of heaven in our future because of Immanuel, God with us.
This great Name Immanuel, “is eternity’s sonnet, heaven’s hallelujah, the shout of the glorified, the song of the redeemed, the chorus of angels, the everlasting oratorio of the great orchestra of the sky.” –Charles Spurgeon
Hymn of the Week “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”
For each of the next four weeks, we will take some time to explore the music of the Advent season. This week we begin with a hymn full of hope, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.
Maybe you noticed a different spelling in the hymns’ title than what you might be familiar with in your Bible. Not to worry, Emmanuel or Immanuel both have the same meaning. Depending on the Bible translation, you could see one or the other, or both.
Here’s a short explanation of why: Immanuel with an “I” is a transliteration of the original Hebrew word composed of ‘Immanu (with us) and El (God), while Emmanuel with an “E” is a transliteration of the Greek “Emmanouel.” (Precept Austin.org, 2017)
This hymn has a rich tradition. Played to the 15th century melody of VENI EMMANUAL, the text comes from a seven-verse poem dating back to the 8th century. It was used in a call and response fashion during the vespers or evening service. The original text created the reverse acrostic “ero cras,” which means “I shall be with you tomorrow,” and is particularly appropriate for the advent season. Then, in the 13th century, a metrical version of five of the verses appeared, which was translated into English by J.M. Neale in 1851. And if you want to learn more, study the verses noted below to explore how five of the hymn’s verses expound upon different names of the Messiah:
“Emmanuel” (Isaiah 7:14, Mt 1:23) means “God with us”
“Adonai” (Exodus 19:16) is a name for God, the giver of the law
“Branch of Jesse” (Isaiah 11:1) refers to Jesus’ lineage
“Oriens” (Malachi 4:2, Luke 1:78-79) is the morning star or daystar
“Key of David” (Isaiah 22:22) again refers to Jesus’ lineage
–Greg Scheer, 1994 (paraphrased)
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Translator J.M. Neale, Public Domain
O come, O come, Immanuel,
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
shall come to you, O Israel.
O come, O Wisdom from on high,
who ordered all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show
and teach us in its ways to go. Refrain
O come, O come, great Lord of might,
who to your tribes on Sinai’s height
in ancient times did give the law
in cloud and majesty and awe. Refrain
O come, O Branch of Jesse’s stem,
unto your own and rescue them!
From depths of hell your people save,
and give them victory o’er the grave. Refrain
O come, O Key of David, come
and open wide our heavenly home.
Make safe for us the heavenward road
and bar the way to death’s abode. Refrain
O come, O Bright and Morning Star,
and bring us comfort from afar!
Dispel the shadows of the night
and turn our darkness into light. Refrain
O come, O King of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind.
Bid all our sad divisions cease
and be yourself our King of Peace. Refrain
Inspire Me Mondays
Neale, John M., trans. “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” Hymnary.org. Public Domain, 1851. https://hymnary.org/text/o_come_o_come_emmanuel_and_ransom. Latin, c. 12th century; Ancient Antiphons (Latin), versified in the 18th century
Immanuel, More Notes On. “Immanuel-Emmanuel.” Precept Austin. Precept Austin, December 18, 2017. https://www.preceptaustin.org/immanuel-emmanuel.
Scheer, Greg. “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” Hymnary.org. Hymnary.org, 1994. https://hymnary.org/text/o_come_o_come_emmanuel_and_ransom. Notes section.