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30 November 2003 @ 09:29 pm

Earlier this year, caerwynx celebrated National Poetry Month by posting a poem every day. I thought that was a good idea, so I'm stealing it for my celebration of the Christmas season. Starting today, the first Sunday of Advent, and continuing through January 6, Epiphany (a.k.a. Three Kings Day and Twelfth Night), I'll post a Christmas poem or hymn. And we'll kick it off today with what is arguably the most famous Advent hymn of all.

O come, O come, Emmanuel

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 Dayspring, 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 heav'nly 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 of Sinai's height,
In ancient times did give the law,
In cloud and majesty and awe.
    Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
    Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Text from Latin Advent Antiphons
Tr. John Mason Neale (1818-1866)

By the way, the poems I post may nor may not be appropriate for the day on which I post them. For example, you may see some Christmas poems posted during Advent. I realize that this shows flagrant disregard of the ecclesiastical calendar and could result in being brought up on charges before the Permanent Judicial Commission, but I'll risk it.

Current Mood: jubilantjubilant
Current Music: The Strange Case of the Cosmic Rays
Vocabulary Lass: ARPrivateLIves -- Cousinjeanadjrun on November 30th, 2003 07:15 pm (UTC)
It's funny, because I'm a pretty secular person, but I adore religious Christmas carols; and the one you posted is one of my favorite.

Just this weekend, I bought a cd -- the Cambridge Singers Christmas Album, directed by John Rutter (I already have a cd of their madrigals, which I adore). It's got some lovely old carols that I recognize, like "The Holly and the Ivy," and "O Holy Night;" but there's also a lot of music that I just don't recognize. Handel, and Berlioz. I'm very excited.
long shadows and gunpowder eyes: Happy Holidaysabby20 on November 30th, 2003 09:04 pm (UTC)
Oh, that's an excellent idea!
Monicaspuffylove on November 30th, 2003 10:23 pm (UTC)
I love this idea! I love Christmas Carols/hymns.

What is your choir singing this year?
Ad Astraastrablue on December 1st, 2003 02:51 pm (UTC)
I love "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." It's so beautiful. And what a good idea! Looking forward to more.
(Anonymous) on March 30th, 2012 06:21 pm (UTC)
The Antiphons
An interesting fact about this beautiful hymn is that medieval christianity codified the dufferent ways Jesus was described into a group of 7 called the Antiphones - the seven aspects (or titles) of Jesus. These were recited in the Vespers of the Litany of the Hours, each referring to the biblical verse and describing it.
O Come O come Emmanuel celebrates the Antiphones:

The verses you give above miss the third,
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.

and the second to last:

O come, Desire of nations, bind,
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of peace.

The Antiphones were (are) (I don't have time to look up the specific verses:
December 17

O WISDOM, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: COME, and teach us the way of prudence. Amen. "O Sapientia..."

December 18

O LORD AND RULER of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: COME, and redeem us with outstretched arms. Amen. "O Adonai..."

December 19

O ROOT OF JESSE, that stands for an ensign of the people, before whom the kings keep silence and unto whom the Gentiles shall make supplication: COME, to deliver us, and tarry not. Amen. "O Radix Jesse..."

December 20

O KEY OF DAVID, and Sceptre of the House of Israel, who opens and no man shuts, who shuts and no man opens: COME, and bring forth the captive from his prison, he who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death. Amen. "O Clavis David..."

December 21

O DAWN OF THE EAST, brightness of light eternal, and Sun of Justice: COME, and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. Amen. "O Oriens..."

December 22

O KING OF THE GENTILES and their desired One, the Cornerstone that makes both one: COME, and deliver man, whom you formed out of the dust of the earth. Amen. "O Rex..."

December 23

O EMMANUEL, God with us, Our King and Lawgiver, the expected of the nations and their Saviour: COME to save us, O Lord our God. Amen. "O Emmanuel..."