Of all the beautiful Christmas hymns, “Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful” stands out as a favourite among favourites. Stately and joyous, it calls all of the faithful to – figuratively speaking – come to Bethlehem and worship the Christ child. With the shepherds, we come, praising and adoring. With the “choirs of angels” and “all [the] citizens of heaven above,” we come, rejoicing and singing. We adore the Christ child, not just because of who he is but because of the plan that he is bravely implementing. “Now in flesh appearing,” he has come, ready to take on the sins of a sinful world and make it possible for us to return to our Father in Heaven, if we choose to do so. This is the plan that dramatically began that day that he was born.
Oh, Come, Let Us Adore Him – and the Plan!
Sister Linda K. Burton, in her talk at the 2015 First Presidency Christmas Devotional speaks of this hymn and the plan it began:
“… If [my husband and I] were to make a list of our favorites, near the top would surely be “Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful.” Its “joyful” and “triumphant” lyrics beckon us to “come,” “behold,” and “adore” our Savior, Jesus Christ—the “King of angels.” I feel certain that, as premortal spirits learning of the plan of salvation, we not only beheld and adored but also shouted for joy when He voluntarily and humbly offered Himself as the Savior of the world. In five of the most profound words ever uttered, He meekly said, “Here am I, send me.” (2015 First Presidency Christmas Devotional)
In her talk, Sister Burton presents two Christmas memories, one of the Christmas her Grandfather passed away, and the other of the Christmas she was diagnosed with cancer. She expresses love for her Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness and how it became so much more personal during those two Christmases.
“As much as I love everything about Christmas, the only things that seemed to matter were my eternal marriage, my family, and my faith in and testimony of my Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the plan.” (2015 First Presidency Christmas Devotional: Linda K. Burton, “Let Us Adore Him – and the Plan!)
Along with Sister Burton, the plan of happiness has become much more personal to me this Christmas season. My very dear husband, the guy who patiently loves and supports me in all my various projects and life dramas, was involved in a serious car accident a couple of weeks ago. It could have been so much worse and in those first few minutes after the accident, I came face-to-face with the idea of a life without him. What a terrible prospect! Luckily, he is doing fine, but I am more grateful than ever for the plan of happiness that conquers all – and for my eternal companion.
History of “Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful”
After decades of searching, no one has reached any definite conclusion on who wrote this hymn. It first appears in manuscripts from the eighteenth century and is not seen before that time. Since these earliest manuscripts bear his signature, most people believe it was written by John Francis Wade (1711-1786), an English hymnist who fled England after the 1745 Jacobite rebellion to teach music in the school for British Roman Catholic exiles in Douai, France. It is even thought that it may have been a coded rallying cry for the Stewart cause.
Originally written in Latin, the English translation of “Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful” was made by Frederick Oakley and William Brooke in 1841.
Credit for the music also generally goes to John Francis Wade.
Congregation Choir Arrangements of OH, COME, ALL YE FAITHFUL
Those who know… know. Those who know the significance of the Christ Child’s birth know what a miraculous and important event it was. The choirs of angels knew. The shepherds knew. The wise men knew. Mary and Joseph knew. We know too. We faithful believers know – and we have been issued a royal invitation in this hymn to come. Behold him and adore him. Recognize what he did for you and embrace his plan forevermore as the one way back to live with him and our family in heaven. Recognize the joy in this marvellous plan of happiness and “sing in exultation.” We are so blessed.
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