O come, O come Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

This hymn is easy for young children to learn and sing. Each stanza reminds them and us that Jesus comes to us and for us. He comes to save us from sin, death, and the Devil and grant us a place in Heaven. Jesus frees us from our enemies and cheers us on our way as we live in this fallen world waiting for His promise to come again and draw us to Himself.

The text of this ancient hymn seems to be a paraphrase of the seven “O Antiphons.” These “O Antiphons,” which originated several centuries before the hymn, were sung at Vespers on the seven last days of the season of Advent.

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Pastor Douglas Zahner serves at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Mayville, Wisconsin.

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