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O Come, O Come Emmanuel [Studio Sessions] - Worship Matters
Here’s the fifth installment of studio session videos from our Christmas album, Prepare Him Room. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel has a rich and varied history. The tune originated somewhere in 15th century France, while the lyrics have their origins in the centuries old O Antiphons, sung or recited by some Catholics and Anglicans at Vespers from December 17 to December 23. Each verse of the carol focuses on a different title for Christ. Depending on which version you sing, we hail Christ as Emmanuel, Rod of Jesse, Dayspring, Key of David, Desire of Nations, Wisdom, and Lord of Might. The most common version of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel was translated by John Mason Neale in 1861 for Hymns Ancient and Modern. As I’ve sung it throughout the years, I’ve often wanted the song to reference what Jesus has accomplished, even as we wait for his return. So for Prepare Him Room, my good friend, Steve Cook, and I set about working on lyrics that focused on Jesus’ role as prophet, priest, and king. We wanted to capture the “already and not yet” dynamic of our salvation. Here’s what we ended up with: O come, O come, true prophet of the Lord And turn the key to heaven’s door Be Thou our comforter and guide And lead us to the Father’s side Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall by His word our darkness dispel O come, our Great High Priest, and intercede Thy sacrifice our only plea The judgment we no longer fear Thy precious blood has brought us near Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Has banished every fear of hell O Come, Thou King of nations bring An end to all our suffering Bid every pain and sorrow cease And reign now as our Prince of Peace Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come again with us to dwell When we sang this version at Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville a couple weeks ago, I was moved by the increasing hope each verse instilled in our hearts as we sang. The video features Rebecca Elliott on piano and vocal, Devon, my son, on acoustic and vocal, Jared Torrence on drums (who since this video broke his hand…), Noah Welch on bass, Neil DeGraide on electric (also the producer of Prepare Him Room), and Emily Donovan on violin. And if you haven’t seen it already, check out the accompanying Prepare Him Room family devotional by my good friend, Marty Machowski. (Image courtesy of Renata Sedmakova from Shutterstock.com)