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Veni, Veni, Emmanuel

My favorite Christmas hymn by far is the beautiful 12th century piece, Veni, Veni, Emmanuel.   While historians believe these powerful words came to be sung as a hymn in the 12th century, it is widely believed that they are based off antiphones dating as far back as the 8th century A.D.  Truly a classic hymn in the purest since of the phrase.  The song is inspired by the words of the prophet Isaiah, the longing of Israel for her promised redeemer.

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.  Isaiah 7:14

And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.  Isaiah 22:22

The longing for Emmanuel can be heard in the words and the music.  The emotion underscores our gratitude for the coming of our Savior centuries ago, but also our own yearning to see him come again in glory and set all to right.

The youtube video below provides a wonderful performance of this hymn with the Latin lyrics across the screen.

 

 

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