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Posted by on Dec 16, 2014 in Culture | 0 comments

O Come, All Ye Faithful

O Come, All Ye Faithful

I love Christmas music. I will listen to Christmas music any time of the year. I think any Christmas song or hymns worth singing in December is worth singing all year ’round. I’d like to share some of my favorites as we anticipate Christmas, and my hope is that studying their history and inspiration will help make our Christmas celebrations even more exciting and worshipful this year.

They say familiarity breeds contempt, but they could also say it breeds apathy. I think this is one of the pitfalls of many of our great Christmas hymns. We’re so used to the habit of singing them in December (and only December) that it often becomes more of a ritual than an act of worship. In the various churches we’ve attended the last few years, it hasn’t been unusual to even see the music minister shift gears into “autopilot” mode when the obligatory Christmas song pops into rotation among the “real” worship songs.

This is tragic. There is great emotional and doctrinal wealth in Christmas hymns. “O Come, All Ye Faithful” is a great example.

“Adeste, Fideles,” in the original Latin, has no known author, although theories abound as to its origin. There are even political theories alleging that the hymn was a secret reference to the birth of Charles III. This is pretty difficult to reconcile with phrases such as, “Jesus to thee be glory given.” Considering Charles III would have been born as many as 20 years before “Adeste, Fideles” appears, that seems unlikely.

The second verse is not as well-known, but I included it here because it is in the original. While “born the King of Angels” is a strange phrase (I wouldn’t say inaccurate, since He is first over all creation, just an uncommon sentiment) there are other places where the Scriptural inspiration for the lyrics are obvious. For example, in that second verse, “Very God, begotten, not created,” echoes John 3:16 and Colossian 1:15-16, affirming Christ’s deity. “Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing” is an obvious reference to John 1:1.

While the song is literally set on the night of Christ’s birth, figuratively the calls to action are still immediate in 2014. Let us come, let us adore Him! But not passively, in December rote, waiting to get to the “real” worship songs. Let us do it intentionally, proactively, enthusiastically – proclaiming the truth in fully-engaged praise to Christ, the Lord!

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant!
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold him
Born the King of Angels:
O come, let us adore Him

O come, let us adore Him

O come, let us adore Him
Christ the Lord.

God of God, light of light,
Lo, he abhors not the Virgin’s womb;
Very God, begotten, not created:
O come, let us adore Him

O come, let us adore Him

O come, let us adore Him

Christ the Lord.

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation,
Sing, all ye citizens of Heaven above!
Glory to God, glory in the highest:
O come, let us adore Him

O come, let us adore Him

O come, let us adore Him
Christ the Lord.

Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to thee be glory given!
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing!
O come, let us adore Him

O come, let us adore Him

O come, let us adore Him
Christ the Lord.

Works consulted:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adeste_Fideles

http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/Notes_On_Carols/adeste_fideles.htm

 

About The Author

Jaci Greggs
Jaci Greggs http://www.meandmysoldierman.com/

Jaci Greggs is a blogger and displaced Okie Army wife raising puppies in a southwest border town. Jaci writes at Me and My SoldierMan and has been featured at Breitbart.com.

Jaci Greggs has blogged 16 posts at wordslingersok.com

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