Wednesday, December 21, 2011

History of 'O come, O come, Emmanuel'

"O come, O come, Emmanuel," is one of the oldest Christian hymns that we possess. The words are based on the ancient Latin text "Veni, veni, Emmanuel" while the musical setting derives from an antiphon stretching back at least to the time of the 12th century. There is some evidence that the original antiphon, from which our metrical version of the song derives, may itself have evolved out of earlier Hebrew temple liturgy, which could push the origins of the work back to the very time of our Blessed Lord. The significance of this is almost staggering as we realize that Jesus Himself may well have sung this very piece, or an earlier version of it.

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