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Finding meaning and worship in the songs of the season. The lyrics of Christmas carols speak of Christ’s birth, but they also often describe his second coming.
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
The lyrics of this song are haunting. Of all the Christmas music that we hear this time of year this one touches me more than any.
These words tell of our Messiah Jesus’ birth, that we celebrate at Christmas. But whenever I hear them, I think, as well, that they speak to his second coming. The song is almost mournful in its longing for fulfillment and they well up that feeling within me.
Longing for my Savior to come.
The name Emmanuel (or Immanuel) comes from Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” and it’s confirmed and applied to Jesus, as God’s representative, the promised Messiah in Matthew 1:23, “See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name Him Immanuel, which is translated ‘God is with us.'”
The perfect fulfillment of this will come when Jesus establishes his Father’s kingdom on earth and God himself comes to reside in the paradise he intended from creation. “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” Revelation 21:3
Are you looking for him? Waiting for him?
Victory Over Death
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.
Isaiah 11:1 says, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” Coming to free his own. Coming to save us and give us ultimate victory over the enemy of death.
Paul describes the Kingdom with the words, “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” (1 Cor. 15) And on the day that God makes his residence with us, we’re told that “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain.”
Is your heart longing for the day when those words ring true?
O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.
‘Our sad divisions’… if that isn’t spot on! While everyone runs around trying to manufacture peace, we can rest in knowing that when he comes, so will peace. The phrase ‘desire of nations’ seems to come from the book of Haggai (when’s the last time you read in there?!).
“And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts…’The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘and in this place I will give peace.'” (Haggai 2)
Are you seeking peace in him, or in the sad divisions of this world?
Truth in Carols
When I was younger I used to feel put out at Christmas time when we’d sing carols in church instead of ‘real’ worship. I saw them as shallow and nothing more than seasonal jingles.
Then I started to notice something: many of the songs we sing at Christmas have deep theological meaning, beautiful Scriptural insights, and can draw your heart to worship (if you let them).
So this season look for the meaning, lift your worship, and let’s look ahead together to the day when we can celebrate his coming again.
Praying this Christmas that you are drawn to him in worship and hope.