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  • Nora Hacker


Updated: Mar 31, 2021

Ever since I was a small child “Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel” was one of my favorite hymns. I didn’t understand why we sang it only in the month of December…nor why we could not sing it Christmas Day. Apparently that is because it is an Advent Song…not a Christmas Carol.

But I loved it for two reasons. The tune is so very, very pretty to me. And I LOVED the imagery of “God with Us” – what the name Emmanuel means.

Even as a child I believed there was something special about that—not a God who is distant or above, but a God WITH us. I had not heard the word solidarity, but that is what “God with Us” means to me.

So maybe it shouldn’t have surprised me that when I was first starting to really feel the ruptures that divide us because of white supremacy, homophobia, capitalism, and misogyny, “Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel” was a piece that I could sink down into with my longing.

And while Rock City’s long term Lutherans or other more liturgical faith traditions may already know this…I learned this week that the reason there are seven verses to “Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel” is that they each represent one of seven names/imageries of Jesus. These seven names are called the Antiphons and have their own chants, too, called the O Antiphons.

Sapientia -- Wisdom Adonai -- Ruler Radix Jesse -- Root of Jesse Clavis David -- Key of David Oriens – Morning Star Rex Gentium -- King of the Peoples Emmanuel – Emmanuel – God with Us

I only have a surface understanding, but it only deepens my love for the song itself. And I love exploring other names for Jesus. How much of decolonizing our faith is about expanding our understanding of who and where Jesus is?

What names of God or Jesus bring you comfort or joy in this season of waiting and longing?

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