O Come, O Come Emmanuel, the Song and the Story

Composer John Mason Neale Writes O Come, O Come Emmanuel

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London-born John Mason Neale (1818-1866, was a scholar, hymn writer and co-founder of the Society of Saint Margaret, an order within the Anglican Church dedicated to nursing the sick.

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Throughout his dedicated Christian life, John was both revered and persecuted for his desire to bring a unity of ideas between the Catholic Church and the Church of England. He was best known for his hymn writing, and his translations of existing hymns from Latin, Greek, Syrian and Russian, into English.

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John's original hymns include Good King Wenceslas and Good Christian Men Rejoice. Among his translated hymns is the beautiful O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, which he adapted from a Latin text. The haunting melody of this song still hints of its Gregorian chant origin.

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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 Day-star, 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 to Thee,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come to lead us Adonai,
Who to the tribes on height of Sinai
In ancient times did'st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
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.

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Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (Matthew 1:23)

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Written by: Connie Ruth Christiansen