1 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.
2 O come, O Wisdom from on high,
who ordered all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show
and teach us in its ways to go. [Refrain]
3 O come, O come, great Lord of might,
who to thy tribes on Sinai’s height
in ancient times did give the law
in cloud and majesty and awe. [Refrain]
4 O come, thou branch of Jesse’s stem,
unto thine own and rescue them!
From depths of hell your people save,
and give them victory o’er the grave. [Refrain]
5 O come, O Key of David, come
and open wide our heavenly home.
Make safe the way that leads on high,
and close the path to misery. [Refrain]
6 O come, O Bright and Morning Star,
and bring us comfort from afar!
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
and death’s dark shadows put to flight. [Refrain]
7 O come, desire of nations, bind
all peoples in one heart and mind.
Bid all our sad divisions cease,
and be thyself our King of peace. [Refrain]
This ancient Advent hymn may date back to a community of fifth-century Jewish Christians and perhaps was part of their Hanukkah festival. The text does include many elements of the Hanukkah celebration-remembrance of wilderness wandering, darkness and death, but also celebration of light (the use of candles) and, above all, wonderment about the hope for Christ's return ("O").
In this song, it becomes clear that the one waited for is “Emmanuel—God with us.” The confessions of the church are very eager to identify that Emmanuel as the only Son of God “according to his divine nature” (Belgic Confession, Article 10). Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Days 11-13, Questions and Answers 29-34 put great effort into explaining why he is called Jesus, Christ, and God’s only begotten Son.