O Come, All Ye Faithful

Seeing as Advent is upon us, I thought it appropriate to talk about one of my favorite seasonal songs, “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” This has long been my favorite song of the Christmas season. Why? Because it is an invitation to the faithful to gather and see what God has given. I love this song not only because so many traditions, countries, and languages lift the praises of Adeste Fideles, but because everyone needs to be reminded of the power of love at nothing more than a simple invitation.

This hymn was written in the early 1740s by John Francis Wade. It was originally written in Latin and translated into 4 stanzas. It was an early take-off of the Nicene Creed, but today we read, hear, and see it as far more than that. In total, over 22 different forms and versions have been adapted and used since its original form in 1740. That’s a lot of versions of a popular hymn still sung today!

How many of you have ever been excluded from a party or a gathering, one that you know you should be welcome to attend to be included? I know I have. It’s not an easy thing to get over. It can be hurtful. And while you do your best to look beyond it, look over it, and get through it, it still hurts. It leaves wounds on your heart, mind, and soul. Depending on the type of invitation, it can even feel like betrayal. That’s the power of Adeste Fideles, or “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” At its core, it is an invitation and a personal one to everyone to come and meet the newborn baby, the baby Jesus, born a child and yet a King divine. This hymn is a beautiful reminder that all are invited; and when it comes to Jesus, all are welcome, no one is excluded, no one is left behind, and no one is forgotten.

Look at the lyrics for a moment. It’s asking those who are faithful, joyful, & triumphant to come to the city where Jesus was born. And not only that but to look upon Him, to ‘behold Him, born King of angels.’ Born King of all of the angels in the Heavens. It’s an invitation to ‘adore Him.’

We often sit in the wonder and the awe of the Advent and Christmas season. Wondering how small churches found it in their heart to pack over 100 Operation Christmas Child boxes, or give hundreds of dollars in gifts of love, groceries, & care to a single family when there aren’t even 100 people in worship on a Sunday. It’s because of their adoration, love, and mission toward their Jesus. They know Jesus is more than gifts, but for those who have little, a gift from someone you don’t know means so much more.

As we go on in this hymn, there are words to Heaven asking Heaven & the choir of angels to join with us as we sing our glory to the King. And finally, it ends in our greeting of our Lord, ‘Word of the Father (John 1:1) now in flesh appearing.’

If ever there was a hymn to sing loud, with joy, and exuberance in Advent and during the Christmas season it is “O Come, All Ye Faithful!” So the next time you hear this song on the radio, in the supermarket, on your playlist, or at a friend’s house; remember that it’s an invitation and tell them what the hymn means.

May the joy, hope, & anticipation of Advent be with you this week.

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