Sacred Music Sunday: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Starting next Sunday, much of the Christian world will be celebrating Advent – a season of both preparing for Christmas by meditating on the birth of Jesus and looking forward to His return in power and glory at the Second Coming. One of my favorite hymns that captures the spirit of this dual time of waiting is O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. It’s done in the style of a Gregorian chant, and the melody is both haunting and hopeful. It captures both the desolation that exists in the absence of Christ and the joy of anticipation of His coming. Just as Mary was pregnant with our Redeemer, so too are we preparing to birth a new world. One where pain and sorrow have ceased and where love and joy reign.

When Jesus taught us to pray, He taught that one of the things we are to pray for is “Thy kingdom come.” [1] We don’t have to wait for His return to build the kingdom. When the people asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus told them “The kingdom of God is within you.” [2]

How do we build this kingdom? How do we gain the answer to our prayer of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”? Jesus taught that whenever two or three of us are gathered in His name, He is in the midst of us. [3] We gather in His name by doing His works. When we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick or imprisoned, or love the unloved, we make the Kingdom of God come a little more closely.

We have no shortage of people in need. This Advent and always, bring Christ’s coming a little nearer by caring for them. “Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” [4]


[1] Matthew 6:10

[2] Luke 17:21

[3] Matthew 18:20

[4] Matthew 25:37-40


Trudy is a lawyer living in the southwestern US. She has two cats who allow her to live in their apartment in exchange for a steady supply of food and treats.

You may also like...

3 Responses

  1. Violadiva says:

    What a delightful piece to start my Christmas season! I love this hymn, and your analysis is awesome. Great recording, too. Thanks, Trudy!

  2. Andrew R. says:

    One of my top five favourite carols. And this rendition did not disappoint. And the idea that He will come by just calling, and no by us doing, is an entirely appropriate message for this time of year, and all year.

    Is this the first of several posts about carols – I hope so.

    • Trudy says:

      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you liked it. The music feature is set for the 4th Sunday of every month, so I’ll get another carol in the mix just before Christmas.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.