O Come O Come Emmanuel

O come O come Emmanuel

And ransom captive Israel

That mourns in lonely exile here

Until the Son of God appears

Rejoice rejoice

Emmanuel shall come to thee oh Israel


I’m totally ok with the fact that God speaks to us through all kinds of different ways. However, I never would have expected His voice to come through a movie as action packed and adrenaline inducing as Taken. If your spirit is sensitive, this is NOT a movie I recommend! And yet, years after I ever saw this movie, there is a very specific scene that the Lord continues to bring back.


The premise of the movie is an overprotective father who recently retired from the CIA. But not a desk job CIA Agent… an in-the-field, fighting-bad-guys kind of operative. Hence the over-protective nature. His 17-year old daughter plans a trip to Paris with a friend and while her father is opposed, he relents. While on the phone with her overseas, she sees kidnappers come in and take her friend. She tells her father what is happening and then he says the line that has never left me:  


“This next part is very important. They are going to take you.”


He then gives her instructions on where to hide, but continually tells her to focus, that she will be taken, and that when they take her she mustn’t lose focus but must shout out as many descriptions as possible. Then it happens. He listens to her being kidnapped and then hears someone pick up the phone. He says this:


I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.”


The rest of the movie is his relentless pursuit to get his daughter back. He unabashedly does whatever it takes to get whatever he needs to find his daughter.


Strangely enough, this is what comes to mind when I sing “O Come Emmanuel.” Andrew Shearman once described The Fall of Man by saying we received the title deed to the Earth and through our sin, handed it over to Satan. The cross was Jesus taking back what is rightfully His to own and ours to steward. He often says he wants to watch the DVD in Heaven of the days between Jesus’ death and resurrection; the days when he went to the depths of Hell, marched straight to Satan and demanded “Give me back what’s Mine!!!” I’ll bring popcorn to see that action flick as well!


The truth is the day that Adam and Eve chose the Tree of Knowledge over the Tree of Life, we became a captive. All that God designed on this Earth for our good was given to Satan to be twisted, manipulated, and used against us. We lost our rule over the Earth as well as ourselves and we became the epitome of Romans 7:15, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”


We were Taken. We became captives. And there was a ransom on our head that we could never pay. The blood of bulls and goats could not cover the cost required to restore what we had lost.



Oh come thou dayspring come and cheer

Our spirits by thine advent here

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night

And death's dark shadows put to flight

Rejoice rejoice

Emmanuel shall come to thee oh Israel


Vince Nigro recently wrote about Advent as a season of waiting. We begin the Christmas tradition of Advent weeks before the actual day of Christmas arrives, reminding us of Israel waiting for a Savior. For our family it’s a time of traditions, fun, and excitement.


And yet, what does it truly feel like to be captured, waiting to be rescued? As God has been reminding me of this film, I’ve often thought - what did it feel like to be Amanda? She knew all her Father was capable of… or at least she had an idea that he was truly able to rescue her. So after she is kidnapped, I imagine her one hope is “My dad is getting on a plane. He is coming for me.” And yet, days pass. DAYS. She gets moved over and over again. Unspeakable things happen.


She knew he promised to come. She knew he was capable of coming. And yet in those “gloomy clouds of night” do you think she wondered why he hadn’t come? Do you think in the midst of torture she wondered why he hadn’t put death’s dark shadows to flight?


In the movie, her father did NOT get on a plane and immediately fly to Paris. He knew what needed to happen. If I was in her shoes I would’ve shouted “HURRY UP!!! Just get HERE!” And yet he knew better. He knew the steps to take. And step one was NOT to come. Despite the horror she must be experiencing, her father knew that for her ultimate rescue, he could not “just come.” For her absolute good, she had to wait.



Oh come desire of nations bind

In one the hearts of all mankind

Bid thou our sad divisions cease

And be thyself our King of Peace

Rejoice rejoice

Emmanuel shall come to thee oh Israel


Throughout our world right now, I’m overwhelmed at the groans of Creation to be rescued. Syrians seeking refuge from their war-torn homeland. Racial divisions leading to fear and violence. Families fighting. Broken relationships. Wounded hearts. The results of our captivity are playing out personally and globally.


Jesus showed up on the scene and took back the rightful ownership of the Earth. And from that point all the way until he returns, riding on a white horse, with His sword in hand, to establish His reign on Earth; Until that day comes He is reclaiming what is rightfully His. He is taking what He paid for. Much like in World War II, D-Day is recognized as when the tide turned in the war and the Germans were sure to lose. And yet the end of the war is not until nearly a full year later. The fight continued despite the victory. In a similar way, Jesus has come and conquered sin and death. And yet, we are still in the process of seeing the completion of His victory.


Rejoice rejoice

Emmanuel has come

Rejoice rejoice

Emmanuel has come


My mentors once encouraged us to make a God-Did List. Somewhere, written down and accessible, where we record the testimonies of where, when, and how God moved in my own personal life. This list is important because in the times when you can’t see Him moving, in the waiting for Him to move, in the Advent… That list will remind you of the truth of Who He Is. His past actions will show you what He has for your future.


So in this Christmas… this Christmas where you may still feel captive… This Christmas where you are still waiting for the fullness of His victory to be realized… This Christmas, we remember one thing: He Came. His way of coming was not expected. The timing was not our timing. His rescue wasn’t even what we expected. But one thing changed everything: He Came.


He is Coming. There are victories He is accomplishing day by day. There are freedoms being won moment by moment. Healing, deliverance, encouragement, circumstances changing, prayers being answered. That is happening now. Whether yours comes today or whether you remain in the waiting… He IS coming.


And He Will Come Again.

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! Godʼs dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

Revelation 21:1-7


O Come O Come Emmanuel version by
David Crowder Band, Album
Oh For Joy

Laura Jacobs