In the weeks leading up to Christmas, we put ourselves in the shoes of Zechariah, Elizabeth, Simeon, and all the pre-Christian saints. We ponder the promises. We strain to see the dawn of salvation. But we know that when it comes, the waiting will not be over.
When Emmanuel arrives — when the Dayspring rises — we learn that redemption has only begun. To be sure, it is a magnificent “only”. The final blood is shed. The debt is paid. Forgiveness is purchased. God’s wrath is removed. Adoption is secured. The down payment is in the bank. The first fruits of harvest are in the barn. The future is sure. The joy is great. But the end is not yet.
Death still snatches away. Disease still makes us miserable. Calamity still strikes. Satan still prowls. Flesh still wars against the Spirit. Sin still indwells.
And we still “groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23). We still “wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:7). We still wait for final deliverance “from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10). We still “wait for the hope of righteousness” (Galatians 5:5).
The longing continues. And every name for Jesus is full of hope, as seen in this song.
- As Emmanuel (Isaiah 8:8) — “God with us” — he will pay the ransom that only a God-man can pay.
- As Rod of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1) springing from a dead stump, he will free his people, by death and resurrection, from Satan’s tyranny, and make them free forever.
- As the Day-spring (Luke 1:78)— the dawn of God’s kingdom — he will be the light of the world, and banish the hopelessness of darkness.
- As the Key of David (Isaiah 22:22)—he rescues us from hell, locks the door behind us, unlocks the door of heaven, and brings us home.
- And as the Desire of nations (Haggai 2:7) he will draw the ransomed from every people and make them a kingdom of peace.
This is who Jesus is. This is what he already achieved and will complete. And so with every verse, the refrain reaches down musically into our weak hearts and pulls us up, in faith, to see the certainty of the end.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel!
Shall come to thee, O Israel.