Advent Week 2 - Joy!

O Come, All Ye  Faithful   #234
Verse 1
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.

No one knows for sure who wrote the original Latin poem that became this beloved hymn.  Various theories from St. Bonaventura to an anonymous 17th century French poet have been considered.  Our hymnal follows the modern pattern of crediting John Wade, an Englishman living and working in a Roman Catholic religious community in Douay, France, as the translator of the poem which appeared in a 1751 book by Wade.  Jesuit priests later brought the song with them when they moved to England after the French Revolution.
The first published appearance of the tune that we use today was in Samuel Webbe’s, “Essay on Church Plan Chant” published in 1782.  It was introduced into the church cannon by the Anglican priest, Rev. Fredrick Oakeley in London in the mid 1800’s.

“O Come, All Ye Faithful” is one of my favorite Christmas carols because of it’s contagious joyfulness!  Every time I sing it, I sit up a little taller and sing a little louder.  It basically tells the whole Christmas story in 6 verses.  The beginning verse reminds us that although we are celebrating Jesus’ birth, we already know the “rest of the story” and Jesus is triumphant on our behalf.  Like last week’s “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” verse 2 reminds us that Jesus is truly God and truly human.  Verse 3 tells us that Jesus’ birth is a cosmic event ringing through the universe.  Verses 4-6 moves from the cosmic realm to the very personal one – this event is even for poor sinners like us.  They announce that the world changing nature of this event is not something that happened 2000 years ago but something that happens again and again each time we accept the invitation to “Come” and follow Jesus!