The song Emmanuel was written in 1970 and was the first Christian song I ever wrote. It was inspired by the traditional advent hymn “O Come, Emmanuel” which I loved as a child. The name comes from the Prophet Isaiah and means “God is with us”. I would perform it on guitar in a rang-a-chang folk style, and when Rick and I performed it together we added piano, both of which are still present in the recording. But, Kevin slowed the song down to impart a peaceful journey. And if you listen closely, there’s a sort of military cadence played on the high-hat that gives the song a sense of destination, while the peaceful slide guitar and Kevin’s quiet chapel organ gently lifts us along to the triumphant finish.
The song tells of my ( our) longing for Heaven which is seeing and being with Christ Himself, and retains the sense of expectation found in the old hymn; however the third verse is totally new as is the final choir’s “God is with us– Now!” I added that because I wanted to make clear that Heaven begins here and now, that we do meet God, now,(although not face to face, of course) in prayer, Word, sacrament and in others. It was really fun making it come alive again after all these years.