O Come All Ye Faithful

By Katie Kafka

I find myself meditating on the words of this familiar Christmas Carol and appreciate how the progression of the song brings me to a meaningful mindset during Advent season. Journeying through the lyric brings essential words to the heart of a Christian not only during Christmas time, but also throughout the entire year.

As I read the history behind this song, I discovered many unknowns and uncertainties. Sometimes verses would be omitted. Other times, verses would be added that were not in the original lyric yet seemed to fit so perfectly. Regardless of the version we sing, the response should always be the same. When we accept the invitation to come and adore Christ, we will be moved in our hearts to affirm our faith and respond with worship of who he is and how he came into this world.

The Invitation

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.

The first verse invites all who are faithful to come. Notice also how the faithful should feel in this moment: joyful and triumphant. There should be a sense of joy in our hearts. A sense of triumph and victory, as we approach the Messiah. Come to the place where Jesus was born and regard how this baby is the king of angels. Will we accept the invitation to pause and remember, with adoration, how the Savior came into the world? When we do, our heart of worship will overflow with love and respect for the One who came to save.

A Statement of Faith

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

In the second verse, the song leads us to pause, and reflect on what to behold and adore when we think of our King Jesus. Elements of this verse echo the words of the long ago written Nicene Creed, a statement of faith that was used to affirm the work of Jesus Christ and eradicate heresy during the fourth century A.D. Here the lyric affirms that Jesus is God. Jesus is light. He has always been in existence: begotten and never created. Yet he was made known to us through a virgin’s womb. This is truly something worth beholding! As a person of great faith, filled with joy and sense of victory, we are invited to come and adore the Savior of the world. It is a natural response for us to make a statement of our faith because he alone is worthy.

Consider Heaven

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation,

Sing, all ye citizens of heav’n above,

Glory to God in the highest,

O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him,

O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

Can you imagine the sound of a choir of angels? It must be a magnificent thing to witness. Consider the heavens in the idea that angels and all the heavenly citizens give glory to God in song because he is God of God and Light of Light. My heart became full of the meaning of this verse as a young lady when a faithful friend of mine went to be with the Lord at the young age of 25. I vividly remember singing this verse on Christmas day of that same year, thinking about how she was now a citizen of heaven. The idea of her singing with the angels, glory to God in the highest, was overwhelming to me. What a marvelous day it will be when we get to witness such splendor. What an encouragement it is to us now. We have confidence and faith that our loved ones who receive the Lord are citizens of heaven singing glory to God for eternity.

Receive

Yea, Lord, we greet thee born this happy morning

Jesus, to thee be all glory giv’n,

Word of the Father, late in flesh appearing,

O come, let us adore him, O come let us adore him,

O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

Now it is time to receive the Messiah, the Savior of the world. In our longing and waiting, we get to greet and receive Jesus. What joy this should bring to our hearts with an outpouring of worship. The world awaited a Messiah. The prophecy that was told throughout the entire Old Testament is now coming to pass. Yet, he arrived in the most unlikely way, in the form of a babe. Remember how baby Jesus was received on that first night. Does it lend your heart toward adoration? Do we find ourselves wanting to receive Christ in this moment? Just as the world awaited a Savior, so too, we wait for his return. In our adoration, may we receive the true gift of Christmas with joy-filled and victorious hearts. O come, all ye who are faithful.

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