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O come, o come Emmanuel

I invite you to take just a few minutes and consider the message of this old Christmas Carol. Many songs tell a story and Christmas carols are no exception.

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

Emmanuel means "God with us". The eternal Creator, the one who just spoke the word and the world came into being, stooped so low as to take upon Himself the form of a created subject (man), and He walked this earth for thirty three years. Some people think that God just started the universe going, and then left it to run on its own. But this is not the case. He became one of us! Why? Because His people were captives - captives of sin - headed for death, just like you and I are today. 'The soul that sinneth, it shall die". Before sin came into this world, there was no death. Only after Adam sinned, did death come. God made this world a perfect place, but after sin came, we got thorns and thistles - and death. Yes, we are exiled from heaven by sin. God made a plan of buying us back out of sin. This is why Jesus was born - to pay the penalty for sin by dying as the substitute for man, the sinner.

O come, o come Thou Lord of might Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height In ancient times didst give the law In cloud and majesty and awe.”

Yes, God gave us the law to reveal to us our sin. Without the law we might (would) think we were pretty good. Without the law (Ten Commandments) we would see no need of a Savior. After all, if you are not in debt you don’t need to pay it off. Is it any wonder that people all across this country hate the Ten Commandments so much? Yes, throwing the Ten Commandments out of our schools and courtrooms is like a person ignoring his mortgage statement from the bank. The debt doesn’t go away that easily. The same is true of the Ten Commandments. We cannot keep them, thus we are in debt to them. Externally. These are God's laws, not merely a human institution's laws.

“O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free Thine own from Satan's tyranny, From depths of hell Thy people save And give them victory o’er the grave.”

Satan is a very hard master. God didn’t make hell for you and me. He made it for Satan and his angels. They were the first to sin. Then they lead Adam into sinning too. And so down through the ages Satan has been seeking man's allegiance – luring him into a trap that lasts for eternity. If God, the Judge of the Universe overlooked sin, He wouldn’t be a very good judge would He?

“O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer Our spirits by Thine advent here. Disperse the gloomy clouds of might And death’s dark shadows put to flight.”

This alone is our hope. Jesus came to save sinners. In His death, He paid sin’s penalty – for you and for me. How do we know? Because death couldn’t hold Him. Three days later, Jesus came out of the grave. He came back to life, never to die again. Is there any religion the world over which can claim a resurrected founder? No, they are all still in the grave. Jesus Christ alone broke deaths power. He alone gives hope for eternity.

“O come, Thou key of David, come And open wide our heavenly home. Make safe the way that leads on high And close the path to misery.”

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” Yes, His death paid the penalty for my sin and yours. His resurrection three days later showed He conquered death. Our part is to accept this gift, personally, individually. Yes, He did die for the whole world. But specifically He died for you and for me.

Indeed Emmanuel did come to Israel two thousand years ago. They rejected Him. They nailed Him to a Roman cross. They crucified the Lord of glory. How about you? How about me? Will we reject God's gift, Gods present to you and me, like they did? Or like the song says, will we rejoice to have Emmanuel, God with us? Will you and I rejoice in accepting the free gift of God's forgiveness? Today is the day of salvation. Tomorrow may be too late!

Copyright © 2006 The Stover Family - all rights reserved.

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