written by Pastor Cody Raak
- Emmanuel (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23)
- Son of God (Matthew 16:13-17)
- Dayspring (Malachi 4:2, Luke 1:78-79)
- Rod of Jesse (Isaiah 11:2)
- Desire of nations (Haggai 2:6-7)
This hymn uses all these names for Jesus, to inspire adoration and expectation. Adoration, because we sing these names to “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name” (Psalm 29:2, Psalm 96:8). And these names inspire expectation, because these names were given in Old Testament prophecy, and fulfilled in the coming of Jesus Christ, and will be fully fulfilled when Jesus Christ comes again.
This adoring expectation, or expectant adoration, is the spiritual focus of this season of Advent. Yes: all of this is already true for us in Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:20). Not yet: we are waiting for the new heavens and the new earth (2 Peter 3:13).
I think the chorus of this hymn best captures the spiritual posture of Advent: the words capture this adoration and celebration: “Rejoice, rejoice!” But the tone of the song, and the chorus in particular, is plaintive and longing and pleading, helping our hearts express our expectation. We rejoice in the present for the hope we await: “Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!”