Some Christmas carols are very formal and even hard to sing, and yet we must, because they are part of our heritage and traditions. We also sing them because they are reflections of our love for Jesus and give witness to who he is.
O Come, All Ye Faithful* will always be one of my favorites, maybe because I also know it in Latin. I took three years of Latin in high school, and Mrs. Black, my dear Latin teacher taught us how to sing it. I’m pretty sure I sang it in Latin in church choir as well, with Mr. Neely, but I actually understood it because of Latin class.
While most of this simple song reflects the Christmas story, the one phrase that speaks volumes to me is: Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing!” As one who has served among Muslim peoples for over thirty years, this is the grandest truth — the Word of God has become flesh. Even in the Qur’an, Jesus (Isa) is known as the Word of God, though they never make the connection as we know him to be.
God Incarnate is the wonder of Christmas.
This is why the faithful must sing, must worship, must bow in awe before the Christ Child. O Come, All Ye Faithful is basically a song that calls all who believe in Christ to worship. Put in southern vernacular, it could easily go, “come on ya’ll, let’s worship Him…Christ the Lord!”
No matter the language, sing to the Lord, he alone is worthy of our adoration.
*From the Adoremus Hymnal at https://www.ignatius.com/promotions/adoremus-hymnal/downloadable-mp3s.htm
*WORDS: Latin hymn; ascribed to John Francis Wade, c. 1711-1786; tr. Frederick Oakeley, 1802-1880 and others. MUSIC: John Francis Wade, c 1711-1786.