Carols Part 4: O Come O Come Emmanuel
The lyrics of “O Come O Come Emmanuel” date back between the 8th & 12th century. At that time they would read a Psalm then sing or chant a short line beginning with the letter O. This was called “The O Antiphons.” One of those lines were, “O Come O Come Emmanuel.” Emmanuel means—God with us.
Matthew 1:21-23 (NIV) “She [Mary] will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel”—which means, “God with us.”
Have you ever prayed, “God, be with me?” Be with me as I travel. Be with me as I take this test. What does it mean for God to be with us?
Isaiah prophesied the birth of Jesus (Isaiah 7:14) around 740 years before it took place. God becoming a man is what sent shepherds into the fields rejoicing. It is what caused wise men to fall to their knees in worship. Why? Because it revealed that God was not a distant uninvolved Creator. God was not just watching over us—He is WITH us. Not only is God with you, He was with you years before you ever knew it.
The phrase, “God with us” reveals that God is a relational God.
Psalm 46:1 (NLT) God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
The problem is, it can be hard to believe. We don’t always feel God’s presence. Often we’re ashamed of what we’ve done. But God is Emmanuel.
1) God is with you.
Luke 1:28 (NIV) The angel went to her [Mary] and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
God is refereed to, in the Greek, as Parakaleo meaning, “One who comes alongside to help, comfort, and give strength.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV) Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles.
The all knowing, all powerful, every present God is with you and wants to help you. The more we turn to Him, the more He can help.
2) God was with you.
Sometimes its easier to see God looking back over your life than it is to see Him in the moment. Joseph in the Bible was beaten, thrown in a pit, sold into slavery, false accused, and you could say, “Where was God?”
Genesis 39:21 (NKJV) But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor.
God was working behind the scenes, kept promoting Joseph, and ultimately used him to assure Israel’s safety. At times it was hard to see Him in the moment, but it was easy for Joseph to see looking back.
Genesis 50:20 (NIV) You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
3) God will be with you.
Romans 8:35, 37-39 (NIV) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword . . . . No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.
Nothing can separate you—nothing! God will never leave you or forsake you. You will never be alone!
God is with you, the real question is are you with God?