Christmas Songs day 24: Oh Come Oh come Emmanuel

It’s Christmas eve; I’d like to take a moment to deal with a more somber, solemn carol. This “carol” is about waiting in the long dark night for the promise of a morning that seems so far away; it’s an advent song, designed for this final week when the birth of Christ seems so near and yet so far.

Doesn’t it send chills down your spine? If that doesn’t get you, try some Enya:

Haunting, wailing, crying out into the darkness: save us, free us, help us. Who hasn’t felt that way at some point in their life? Who hasn’t wanted there to be something out there to reply, something just on the brink of appearing to rescue and uplift us from the cold, harsh world?

I try to keep upbeat in my day to day life; for fear of relapsing to the dark place I spent my teenage years trapped inside, I usually avoid overly depressing music. But this song is breathtaking when done well. I could write volumes to this, but they wouldn’t be cheerful volumes.

This version is faster, as though the singer can barely catch his breath, desperate for the arrival of a savior, hurry, he can feel the approach, just a little longer…

Pain, loneliness, and sorrow,  giving way to joy beyond measure. Isn’t that a wonderful thing to celebrate? Be it the rebirth of sunlight, the miraculous preservation of a people thought doomed, or the coming of God-made-man, it’s a joyous and painful time.

When you think about death and sadness around Christmastime, you often feel so isolated and alone: every shop window, every commercial, every song on the radio is practically screaming “BE HAPPY” with painted-on saccharine smiles and bells that disguise the demands for money. It is comforting to remember that there’s more to winter than candy and presents: there’s always, just outside, the dark and the cold we’re trying so hard to forget, and it’s okay to acknowledge that.

Go in peace, and may the light find you in the morning once more.

This entry was posted in Christmas Music Special, Deconstructions, Music and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Christmas Songs day 24: Oh Come Oh come Emmanuel

  1. Firedrake says:

    This is one of my favourites. Thanks! Not so keen on the bare vocal style of your first pick, particularly for this that really needs lots of people singing it; the Mormons are at the top of my stack this time round. The PC&D works surprisingly well for me too…

  2. Pingback: Deconstruction Round Up, December 28th, 2012 « The Slacktiverse

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