“O Come All Ye Faithful.”
It was originally published in Latin in 1760 under the name “Adeste Fiedeles.” In 1745, John Francis Wade was caught up in the Jacobite Rising – a failed attempt by Charles Edward Stuart to regain control of Scotland. The battles eventually came to England and Wade because a refugee as a result. It’s possible that the original Latin version was actually a battle hymn of sorts, though in code, for those on the side of Stuart.
It’s the simplest of carols with the repeating refrain, “O come let us adore Him…” The chorus is lovely, and it’s not just for Christmas, for these few words really encapsulate the posture of worship. We are, time and time again, coming to adore Him.
Beyond that chorus, though, the third verse not only draws us into this posture of adoration, but also reminds us of the identity of the One whom we are adoring. It goes like this:
Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, Born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be the glory giv’n;
Word of the Father, Now in the flesh appearing,
O come let us adore Him…
It reminds me of how the book of Hebrews opens: “Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. In these last days, he has spoken to us by His Son. god has appointed Him heir of all things and made the universe through Him” (Hebrews 1:1-2).
We do not serve a voiceless, nameless God, but One who is communicative with His people. And thank goodness He is.
Imagine, for a moment, what life would be like without a word. Imagine walking into a new school without a class schedule, a map, or an idea where the cafeteria is located. Imagine starting a new job when your manager didn’t explain fully the expectations of the role or how you can be successful or that on Fridays everyone wears sweatpants to the office. Imagine moving to a new city and having no one to tell you which part of town to live in, where to buy groceries, or where the closest park is. Imagine life without a word, and now imagine life without a word from God.
It’s aimless. Purposeless. Directionless. And very, very lonely.
This is the reality for many of us, not only because many don’t believe God has left us a word, but also because many others claim He has and yet live like He hasn’t. Think, for a minute, about how often as Christians we make some version of this statement:
“I just God would tell me His will about…”
Don’t get me wrong – I’ve never had God sky write me a message about what house to live in or spell out the name of the right job in my alphabet soup. So it’s not as if every decision we have to make it absolutely clear. But neither is it the case that God has not spoken. He has spoken, and His Word stands.
And because God has given us a word, we don’t need to look for another one.
One of the early heresies that permeated the church was something called gnosticism. Though it has many forms, much of it centers around the idea of having some kind of secret knowledge that’s only available to a select few. As we look around the evangelical today, I have to wonder if gnosticism is still out there, just wearing a different set of clothes:
- Thinking we have discovered something new that no one else has ever discovered about God before.
- Looking for “deep” things outside the revelation of God.
- A sense of superiority because of some kind of unique relationship with God.
All of these traits and more stem from a disbelief in God’s revelation of Himself. They are all searching for some kind of ever elusive “else” that manifests itself into looking further and further out when we should be looking further and further in. Again, simply put – God has given us a word. And He is not going to contradict Himself.
Instead of moaning and searching, we can live with a sense of gratitude that although God could have left us to squander on our own, He did not. He chose to communicate with us. And He even went further than giving us His book; He gave us Himself. As we dig into the written Word of God, we find ourselves coming alongside the Living Word of God. And that’s where true life resides. Jesus is the final Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.