I can only imagine what it’s like to walk where Jesus walked or to visit Bethlehem, where Scripture records that He was born over two millennia ago. Today, books, magazines, movies, television and social media take us there virtually, but to be there in person would be thrilling.
During the Advent season leading up to Christmas, I’ve had much time to sing and ponder the words of the Christmas carols that celebrate the birth of Christ, the reason the day is significant for Christians. Although we don’t know the exact date of His birth, we have set aside this day as a remembrance that Jesus, the Son of God and Second person of the Godhead, came to earth as a human and Immanuel, God with us.
Today we don’t worship the baby in the manger as did the shepherds, nor bring rich gifts to the young child as did the wisemen. We worship the Savior who gave His life’s blood to give us eternal life.
“O Come All Ye Faithful” is a favorite carol. The music itself is majestic, and the words a reminder of the Word made flesh who will one day be the King, Christ the Lord.
John Francis Wade (1711-1786) wrote the hymn, “Adeste Fidelis,” around 1743. The original had four stanzas. More were added later. (See below.) Frederick Oakley translated stanzas 1,2,3, and 6 into English. both these men were raised in the Church of England and converted to Roman Catholicism.
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![Stanza 2]
True God of True God, Light from Light eternal,
lo, he abhors not the virgin’s womb;
Son of the Father, begotten, not created;
Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation,
sing, all ye citizens of heaven above:
“Glory to God, all glory in the highest!”
Leaving their flocks, draw nigh to gaze;
We too will thither bend our joyful footsteps;
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?[Stanza 6]
Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to thee be all glory given;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing;
I’m most familiar with verses 1, 2, and 6. This copy from my mother’s Christmas carol book shows much wear.
This Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of this Baby, let’s remember that He was and is Immanuel, God with us. He had victory over sin and death by His resurrection, thereby giving us forgiveness and eternal life when we believe and receive Him as Savior. One day He will return to earth as King to reign forever.
“Joy to the World!”
Wishing you joy and blessings at Christmas and in the New Year.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (nkjv)