O Come O Come Emmanuel
Strong and Courageous
This is my favorite Christmas song of all time. The words go like this:
O come O come Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel.
That morns in lonely exile here.
Until the son of God appears.
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Shall come to you,
I love it that this song captures the very pinnacle of human history into a few short verses. Yes, of all the people ever born and of all of the historical events that have taken place in the sum total of human history, the life of Jesus outweighs everything and everyone else by a landslide.
Even if you are a secular non-religious person, judging from the ongoing weight of 2,000+ years of human history, you have to see the significance of Jesus and the impact of Christianity on the world. Tim Keller states in the book titled Making Sense of God “The man Christians call Jesus Christ is the single most influential person who ever lived. Western civilization was shaped in large part by the Bible and particularly by Christian Theology. Even todays secularism shows the marks of the humanistic values that grew out of Christian understandings.” The mainstream culture in America today may be post-Christian, but the roots of our society has not shaken the Judeo-Christian ethic.
And not just for America alone. Keller continues to say “Jesus’s influence does not lie mainly in the past. Today a greater percentage of the world’s population than ever before is Christian. Christianity is the religion that is most equally distributed across the continents of the world. No other [faith]… has so extensively crossed the cultural divisions of humanity and found a place in so many diverse cultural contexts.” The global message of hope found in Jesus is alive and well on planet Earth.
The word Emmanuel actually means God with us. It is so amazing that the God who created the universe and authored everything in it, purposely chose to write himself into the story. Jesus comes to us as the great protagonist of history, that is born in a manger, without all of the pomp and circumstance that was most likely to be expected. This is what Christmas is truly all about. We celebrate the birth of Christ, along with all of the further meaning that is entailed in the Gospel, the good news about Jesus.