Singing O Come, O Come, Emmanuel around the Advent wreath is a traditional Advent activity for many families. Here are the complete lyrics, plus a printable PDF of the lyrics, and two video versions to give your kids an assist.
This hymn, typically sung during Advent, dates to the eighteenth century, and is based on the even more ancient O Antiphons (fifth century). The hymn anticipates the coming of the Messiah; each verse is rooted in an image from the prophet Isaiah.
Sing the hymn during Advent, especially around the lit Advent wreath. Sing it with your kids every night, beginning with one or two verses, and adding new verses as your family masters the first verses. By the end of Advent, you’ll know all the verses by heart!
There are many variations on the hymn, with slight differences in wording and verse order; you may want to check what version your parish uses.
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 appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to you, O Israel.
O come, O Wisdom from on high,
who orders all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show
and teach us in its ways to go. Refrain
O come, O come, great Lord of might,
who to your tribes on Sinai’s height
in ancient times did give the law
in cloud and majesty and awe. Refrain
O come, O Branch of Jesse’s stem,
unto your own and rescue them!
From depths of hell your people save,
and give them victory o’er the grave. Refrain
O come, O Key of David, come
and open wide our heavenly home.
Make safe for us the heavenward road
and bar the way to death’s abode. Refrain
O come, O Bright and Morning Star,
and bring us comfort from afar!
Dispel the shadows of the night
and turn our darkness into light. Refrain
O come, O King of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind.
Bid all our sad divisions cease
and be yourself our King of Peace. Refrain
- Get a printable PDF of these lyrics.