Isaiah 7:14 – Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Names are important in Scripture, like when God changed Abram (high father) to Abraham (father of a multitude). Or when Simon was given the name Cephas/Peter/Rock. Jesus has 100+ names throughout Scripture, each one revealing more of his purpose and character.
I came across this in my readings:
“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” was originally used in the medieval church liturgy as a series of antiphons – short musical statements that were sung for the week of vesper services just before Christmas Eve. Each of these antiphons greets the anticipated Messiah with one of the titles ascribed Him throughout the Old Testament: Wisdom, Emmanuel, The Lord of Might, The Rod of Jesse, Dayspring, and The Key of David. (From Amazing Grace: 365 Inspiring Hymn Stories by Kenneth Osbeck.
In keeping with the song’s original purpose of welcoming Jesus by name, in the coming weeks I’d welcome you to join me in reflecting on the different names of Jesus referenced in the lyrics, starting with verse 1:
O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.
Egypt, Babylon…the people of God know what it is to be in exile, to be cut off from their true home, to be waiting. What great hope it must have been to know that one was coming called Immanuel – God with us.
Advent is a season of waiting. We, too, know what it is to feel distant from home, to be living in a foreign land. How comforting to know that, not only will Jesus come again, but He is Immanuel even now, God with us in our waiting.