Music of Advent: “O Come, Divine Messiah” | WORLD
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Music of Advent: “O Come, Divine Messiah”


WORLD Radio - Music of Advent: “O Come, Divine Messiah”

Bringing a 16th century carol of waiting to contemporary ears

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MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is December 1st. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. This Sunday marks the first week of Advent. Over the next four Sundays, Christians around the world will prepare for—and reflect on—the coming of Christ.

BROWN: At the close of each Friday’s program, from now till Christmas, correspondent Bonnie Pritchett will guide us through a selection of Advent hymns.

And just a quick note, we’re creating a Spotify Playlist again this year. We’ll keep it updated throughout the month so you can find the music for your own enjoyment. We’ve included the link to that in today’s transcript at


REPORTER, BONNIE PRITCHETT: Waiting. It’s not our strong suit. Especially when war and disaster fill headlines – and our hearts – with anxiety.

But for thousands of years, Christians have found peace in God’s promise to redeem this broken world. The 16th century French carol “O Come, Divine Messiah” is a plea for God to intervene. The Radio France Choir performs the carol on their 2018 album Noel Eternal.


Penned by French poet and playwright Simon Joseph Pellegrin, the carol’s French and English translations vary. But their message is the same…as conveyed in verse one of this French version: “O son of God, do not tarry. By your incarnation give joy to our world in dismay. Tell us once again how much you love us. So many don’t know about you! O Come, O Come, O Come!”


The Barra McNeils are a Canadian family ensemble. They contribute their Celtic influence to the carol on this 1999 Christmas Album.

SINGING: Sweet Savior, Haste! Come to earth. Dispel the night and show thy face. And bid us hail the dawn of grace.

The family’s lilting voices express that waiting – with hope – can dispel sadness.

SINGING: O, Thou, who nations sighed for, whom priests and prophets long foretold, come break the captives fetters, redeem the long-lost fold. O, come divine Messiah, the world in silence waits the day when hope shall sing its triumph and sadness flee away.



On a 2015 album, the musicians of Redeemer Downtown released their version of the carol and called it In Silence.

The slow, measured tempo mimics the passage of time. Of waiting.

SINGING: O come in peace and meekness, for lowly will your cradle be. Though clothed in human weakness we shall your God-head see. O, come divine Messiah, the world in silence waits the day when hope shall see its triumph and sadness flee away. And sadness flee away.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Bonnie Pritchett.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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