O Come

O Oriens

O come, O come Emmanuel

Within this fragile vessel here to dwell.

O Child conceived by heaven’s power

give me they strength: it is the hour.

O come, thou Wisdom from on high;

like any baby at life you cry;

for me, like any mother, birth

was hard, O light of earth.

O come, O come, thou Lord of might,

whose birth came hastily at night,

born in a stable, in blood and pain

is this the king who comes to reign?

O come, thou Rod of Jesse’s stem,

the stars will be thy diadem.

How can the infinite finite be?

Why choose, child, to be born of me?

O come, thou key of David, come,

open the door to my heart-home.

I cannot love thee as a king—

so fragile and so small a thing.

O come, thou Day-spring from on high:

I saw the signs that marked the sky.

I heard the beat of angels’ wings

I saw the shepherds and the kings.

O come, Desire of nations, be

simply a human child to me.

Let me not weep that you are born.

The night is gone. Now gleams the morn.

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel,

God’s Son, God’s Self, with us to dwell.

By Madeleine L’Engle

From “Wintersong: Christmas Readings”

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