Sometimes I wonder where my mind was wandering all the days of my growing up years.
I'm of the era of Elvis, Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Frankie Avalon, Fabian, Paul Anka, the Beach Boys, Roy Orbison, Connie Francis. As a typical teen I loved the music of the time, but while I enjoyed their songs I was never one to buy the latest fan magazine to read up on their personal lives or their latest gold record.
I'm a bit embarrassed to say that if you were to ask me to name three songs sung by any of these musicians I wouldn't be able to do that. It's as if they were singing in the background of my life. It was just noise in the background. Nice noise. Pleasant noise. Noise to which I could dance. But, still noise.
But this morning, in church, we sang a different kind of song. And I knew every word to some of these songs. And I sang at the top of my voice. (I hope the guys in front of me didn't mind!)
Isn't it strange that I cannot remember the simple words to a rather simple rock-n-roll song that hit the top ten and was on the radio for weeks and weeks at a time? Those songs were everywhere. And yet they left not much impression.
But jump from there to here, to this Christmas season, and to songs such as "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel", a song whose words date back to the 12th century. This is a song which one might hear only a handful of times during Christmas season. And yet it becomes so ingrained in us that we rejoice to be able to sing it again, to sing it with fellow Christians anticipating the celebration of the Incarnation of the Christ.
The title comes from Isaiah 7:14 - “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." The word Immanuel means "God with us" and the song is a song of longing, of looking forward to the fulfilling of the promise of a Savior, a Messiah, who would save His people from their sins.
The chorus is best of all. "Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel."
Christians rejoice at Christmas for it is the celebration of God coming to his creation, to partake of flesh, to be one with us, to die for us, to rise for us, to give us eternal life. We celebrate His work on our behalf. We rejoice!
Colossians 1:13-17 (click to read entirety)