Christmas songs #13: O come, all ye faithful

What a great song this one is. And yet, I think it is probably almost impossible to understand for today’s singers. It’s full of old-timey words and theological categories. Probably no one today sings more than the first and last verse, except in church. But it is a rich study for those who want to know God better.

Who exactly was born in Bethlehem? A great teacher? A spiritual leader? A philosopher? Well, the early Christians weren’t thrown to the lions because they believed in a different philosopher. They were persecuted because they insisted that Jesus was God and Caesar wasn’t. As Christianity was becoming legal in the early 300’s, people relaxed a little bit and there were teachers who taught that Jesus was merely “divine,” not God in the flesh. In response, the Nicene council reaffirmed the original faith of Christians, that Jesus was God in the flesh.

This song seems to be based on the Christmas story and the Nicene Creed.  You could look up all the hard words! I’ve pasted the Nicene Creed down below the lyrics.

http://www.rhapsody.com/goto?rcid=tra.12647155&artistId=art.6072221&variant=play

(To hear the song, click the link or paste into your browser. Finally, where it says “Don’t have a Rhapsody account?”, push “Play Now.”)

Lyrics

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;

Refrain:
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;

Refrain

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation;
O sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God, all glory in the highest;

Refrain

See how the shepherds, summoned to His cradle,
Leaving their flocks, draw nigh to gaze;
We too will thither bend our joyful footsteps;

Refrain

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

Refrain

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?

Refrain

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be all glory given;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.

Refrain

THE NICENE CREED

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.




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