Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington
O Come All Ye Faithful

Christmas Carol Messages: O Come All Ye Faithful


Christmas is a time of coming together. Families reunite around a Christmas tree and a tabletop laden with holiday treats. Church congregations join in celebrating with candle-lit services. Communities come together to sing of peace on earth. But amid all the activities: shopping, baking, entertaining, and celebrating, in this carol we hear a summons.

Come! The Christmas carol, “O Come All Ye Faithful” is an eager call for all followers of Christ to assemble for a singular purpose: adoration.

So come! Come with me as we explore the message of this special Christmas carol . . .

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!

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;
sing, all ye citizens of heav’n above!
Glory to God, all glory in the highest! [Refrain]

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be all glory giv’n!
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing! [Refrain]


Exploring the lyrics


“O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant”

This is a call for all followers of Christ to come! Not reluctantly or hesitantly, but joyfully and victoriously. Lay aside every distraction for the purpose of worship.


“Come ye to Bethlehem”

Why Bethlehem? For more on why Bethlehem, check out the recent post: Christmas Carol Messages: “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”


“God of God, Light of Light, . . . very God, begotten not created”

This stanza is rarely sung these days. The phrasing seems ancient to our contemporary ears. This phrasing is ancient. It’s taken directly from the Nicene Creed, first adopted in 325 AD as an absolute doctrinal statement. The purpose of the Nicene Creed was to clarify Christian belief and take a stand against heresies that had begun to proliferate.

Bottom line: Jesus Christ, born of the virgin Mary, is God. The Son of God is the incarnate Son of Man. And if this sounds confusing, take comfort in knowing you’re not alone. The mystery of the infinite Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), is impossible for our finite minds to fully grasp.


“He abhors not the virgin’s womb”

The prophet Isaiah wrote “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). How is that possible? It’s not, apart from a miracle by God Himself.

I love how Gene Edwards, author of the series, The Chronicles of the Door, described this in the series’ first book, The Birth. Written from the perspective of the angels in heaven, he wrote:

“Today the Door [of Heaven] opens inside a woman’s womb! . . . At this moment there grows One, in a woman’s womb who carries with Him all that is the highest, the purest, and the greatest innocence . . . all the grandeur of an Adam before the Fall. And at this moment, growing inside that same womb is the very life of God. There shall come forth from this womb the highest of unfallen mankind, the very Son of Man Himself. And from this womb shall come forth all the essence of God, the very Son of God. The two at last have met in One, and His name shall be called Jesus.”


“Sing, choirs of angels; sing in exultation . . . Glory to God . . . in the highest”

This song of angels is taken from Luke’s gospel account. In Luke 2:8-14, he wrote:

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’”


“Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing”

The Gospel of John opens with these words in John 1:1:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus, the logos, the word.

And in John1:14, we read:

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

“O come, let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord”

Knowing all this, how can we not come and adore Him? The Messiah, the Christ, the anointed One of God. The Lord who humbled Himself on the cross to pay the full penalty for our sin to restore us to full relationship with the Father!


So come! Come eagerly! Come joyfully! Come triumphantly! Come!

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