O Come, O Come Emmanuel

O Come, O Come Emmanuel is perhaps my favorite Advent and Christmastime hymn, and this version by Sufjan Stevens is probably one of my favorite versions. Its text is based on the biblical prophecy from Isaiah 7:14 that states that God will give Israel a sign that will be called Immanuel (literally, “God with us”). Matthew 1:23 states fulfillment of this prophecy in the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appears.

Refrain:
Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice!
Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice!

O come, thou Dayspring, 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! Rejoice!
Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel.

Refrain

O come, O come, thou Lord of might,
who to thy tribes on Sinai’s height
in ancient times didst give the law
in cloud and majesty and awe. Refrain two times

–Text based off its Latin original (Veni, Veni Emmanuel) from c. the twelfth century. There are many versions of the song. This version is sung by Sufjan Stevens, from his album Songs for Christmas.

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