Sunday Poetry – Christmas

Oh Come, Oh Come, Emanuel is one of my favourite carols. I listen to Christmas carols for weeks before Christmas, I’ve always loved them, especially the older, medieval ones. This one always makes me think of angels (picture from here). The words are joyous but the tune is melancholy. I don’t know all the words, but I just hum along & join in loudly on Rejoice! Rejoice! Whether it’s in English or Latin, this is one of the tunes that stays in the mind long after the CD is back in its case.

Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, our Wisdom from on high,
Who ordered all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, oh, come, our Lord of might,
Who to your tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times gave holy law,
In cloud and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come O Rod of Jesse’s stem,
From ev’ry foe deliver them
That trust your mighty pow’r to save;
Bring them in vict’ry through the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, O Key of David, come,
And open wide our heav’nly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, our Dayspring from on high,
And cheer us by your drawing nigh,
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Oh, bid our sad divisions cease,
And be yourself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

4 thoughts on “Sunday Poetry – Christmas

  1. I'm listening to carols as I write this! I don't know this one — must seek it out. What's on here now is Once in Royal David's City, which for some reason makes me cry no matter how many times I hear it. Tomorrow I'm going to a service in a little local French church to hear some English choirboys who have come over to give a few concerts. Really looking forward to it.

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  2. My dad has always loved, and collected, and shared Christmas music – almost always the traditional kind — so carols like this are the sound of Christmas for me. But you're also reminding me that I don't always pay enough attention to the poetry of the lyrics, so thank you for this!

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  3. I think it's that piercing solo at the beginning of OIRDC that sends a shiver up my spine. I always imagine how nervous the chorister must be although I just read an article in Country Life about Christmas choristers & one boy said the solo wasn't as scary as nor tripping over in the procession! Your concert tomorrow sounds lovely, Harriet, I hope you enjoy it.

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