For you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, where by the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. Luke 1:76-79 (ESV)
The inspiration for “Rising Sun (Emmanuel)” came straight out of Zechariah’s prophecy in Luke 1. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Zechariah prophesies about the role his newborn son, John, would have preparing the way for the coming Messiah. Oh, how long Israel had waited for this promised Messiah! And now, by the tender mercy of God, the sunrise from on high was coming to give light and peace to those in darkness and chaos!
How beautiful is the imagery that the Holy Spirit paints for us, describing the birth of our Savior as a sunrise from heaven. Jesus comes to give light to all who walk in the shadow of death as a result of sin (Rom. 6:23a). And He comes not only to give light to us in the darkness, but also to guide us into peace with God.
“Emmanuel, God with us, the rising sun of heaven has come to give us light and guide or lives in the way of His peace.” And our appropriate response is to join the angels in singing, "Glory to our God and King!"
In darkness sat the world in wait
for a light to show the way
Enslaved to sin in the shadow of death
A promised prince of peace and light
A wandering people losing sight
Then came this marvelous silent night
By tender mercy of our God
this child, born unto us
Emmanuel, the rising sun
of heaven has come
to give us light and guide our lives
in the way of His peace
From God our hearts had turned away
by His grace in a manger lay
the Savior of the world
With the angels join and sing
Glory to our God and King!