O Come, All Ye Faithful

the_birth_of_christ-300x225O 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.

True God of true God, Light from Light Eternal,
Lo, He shuns not the Virgin’s womb;
Son of the Father, 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;
O sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God, all 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.

See how the shepherds, summoned to His cradle,
Leaving their flocks, draw nigh to gaze;
We too will thither bend our joyful footsteps;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Lo! star led chieftains, Magi, Christ adoring,
Offer Him incense, gold, and myrrh;
We to the Christ Child bring our hearts’ oblations.
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Child, for us sinners poor and in the manger,
We would embrace Thee, with love and awe;
Who would not love Thee, loving us so dearly?
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.

Words by John F. Wade, ca 1743
Music by Uncertain (attributed to John Wade, John Reading or Simoa Portogallo)

 


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. . .
There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:1 -5, 9 – 14

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Luke 2:13 – 14

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Luke 2:15 – 20

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” . . .
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Matthew 2:1 – 2, 9 – 11


 

When you get married one of the first big things you have to do is decide who you are going to invite to the wedding.  How wide do you spread the net?  Do you invite your parents second cousin once removed or do you just keep it to immediate family?  Do you invite your childhood best friend that you have not seen in 20 years or do you just invite the people currently in your life? These are the decisions that have to be made and it is up to each couple to do as they see fit (and can afford to feed at the reception).  Whatever  the decision, once you are done with the list you have to address and stamp all the invitations to go out.  Finally you need to wait for the responses so you can find out who is coming.

In John Wade’s “O Come, All Ye Faithful” we are given an invitation, not to a wedding, but to meet Christ. An invitation that is given to all, but only those who respond can know the child in the manger.

So Wade gives us an invitation containing all the necessary information. Who is invited? “all ye faithful.” Where are they going? “to Bethlehem.” Why are they going? to “behold Him, born the King of angels.” The hymn then continues by presenting us with a further description of the child we are called to see when it reads, “True God of true God, Light from Light Eternal . . . Son of the Father, begotten, not created.” (John 1:5, 9, 14) This child we are called to see, is the eternal God made flesh.

Now the hymn changes its focus from an invitation to present the response of the three groups presented in scripture concerning the birth of Christ.  The first group is the Angels who in Luke 2:13 – 14 declared, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

We then move on to the Shepherds who Luke 2:15 – 17 and 20 tells us that “When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child . . . The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

The third group is then the Magi who came later to see Jesus as we are told in Mathew 2:1 – 2 and 9 – 11  where we read”After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” . . .
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Each of those who responded to the call could do nothing less than worship and glorify the child, the new born King.  So Wade next turn the lens upon us and how we will respond. Will we come to the child who was born “for us sinners poor and in the manger”? Surely “we would embrace Thee, with love and awe” for “who would not love Thee, loving us so dearly?” Christ came into the world to open the door that sinners could be redeemed. In love he would “lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)

The invitation has been sent to each and every one of us to celebrate the child born in Bethlehem, the Savior of the world. May each of us choose to respond to the invitation with joy and faith. When we truly come to know him we can join in the words of the hymn, “O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.”

 

 

Read more about “O Come, All Ye Faithful.”

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