Tuesday, December 24, 2013

"O Come, O Come, Emmanuel"

One of my favorite Christmas carols has become "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel". With beautifully moving verse, this carol teaches of the reasons we have to rejoice in Jesus' birth. The words of the carol are,

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

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
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

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.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai's height,
In ancient times did'st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

These beautiful words teach about the atoning mission of Jesus Christ and why I have reason to rejoice in His birth. Without Jesus, I would be in bondage to sin, doomed to hell, and exiled from God. But with Jesus' suffering in Gethsemane and on the cross at Calvary, He paid the price of my sins and ransomed me. He swung open the doors of hell to enable me to escape the captivity of sin and be forgiven though repentance. In the words of Isaiah, Jesus "was wounded for...[my] transgressions, he was bruised for...[my] iniquities: the chastisement of...[my] peace was upon him; and with his stripes...[I am] healed" (Isaiah 53:5).

Because of Jesus, the dark shadow of death does will not permanently hold my body captive in a cold grave but I have the promise of a resurrection or the reuniting of my body and spirit. Abinadi taught,

"For were it not for the redemption which he hath made for his people, which was prepared from the foundation of the world, I say unto you, were it not for this, all mankind must have perished. But behold, the bands of death shall be broken, and the Son reigneth, and hath power over the dead; therefore, he bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead" (Mosiah 15:19-20).

Jesus was the first to be resurrected and the rest of Heavenly Father's children, including me, will follow.

Christ's teachings and example gives me the way to return to my Heavenly Home. He is the only way home (John 14:6). It is only through His gospel and His "merits, mercy, and grace" (2 Nephi 2:8) that I can return home to live eternally with my Heavenly Father.
The prophet Alma prophesied of Jesus' birth and taught about His atoning mission. He said,

"And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem...she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God. And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." (Alma 7:10-12)

I am grateful that Emmanuel, the promised Messiah, even Jesus the Christ came to earth. He has given me every reason to rejoice. He has given me the peace found in hope.

No comments:

Post a Comment