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“The Incarnation of God is an infinitely greater thing than anything I would dare to write." -J.R.R. Tolkien
According to the "scrupulous editors" at Wikipedia, the familiar advent hymn "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" has ancient roots -- possibly as far back as the 6th century AD.
The text of the song seems to be connected with the "O Antiphons" that have traditionally rounded out the last seven days of Advent vespers in the Catholic Church. Its modern text has remained roughly unchanged since the 1700s, and its familiar tune was published in 1851.
We here at The Sowing Season gravitate to the old, to the archaic, to the ancient, and we suspected that the true roots of "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" might reach back even further than Wikipedia supposes.
It turns out the Hebrew scriptures are full of prophecies concerning a coming redeemer whose mission would be "God with Us" and the coming marriage of heaven and earth.
So, we have footnoted the text of the hymn with well over a dozen of those references -- check them out!
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
I. The Sign of Immanuel 1
O come O come Immanuel 2
And ransom captive Israel 3
That mourns in lonely exile here 4
Until the Son of God appear 5
-- Rejoice! 6
II. Talitha, Koum! 7
O come Thou Dayspring come and cheer our spirits 8
by Thine advent here 9
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night 10
And death's dark shadows put to flight 11
-- Rejoice! 12
III. Maranatha! 13
O come Desire of Nations 14
Bind all peoples in one heart and mind 15
Bid envy strife and quarrels cease 16
Fill the whole world with heaven's peace 17