Guest post by Troy McLaughlin…

I am a lover of Christmas songs. So much so that when I attempt to prohibit Christmas songs in our home until after Thanksgiving (out of respect for Thanksgiving), I am usually the first to violate the prohibition. Timeless hymns, classic carols, modern tunes. The kind of Christmas song makes little difference. I am easily (and often literally) swayed by the hypnotic familiarity of the melody. But my favorite songs are those which supply not only a pleasing sound but a meaningful message. A true message. Which is why the hymn, “O Come All Ye Faithful,” continues to reside at the top of my list. And which is why I hope to persuade you to put it near the top of yours…

 O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant! O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem

The song begins with a call to the “faithful,” those whose faith and hope is in the gospel, to draw near to where Jesus is, so as to be near to Jesus Himself. Nothing should be more natural for a believer, for it is through Jesus alone that we are able to draw near to God at all, as Paul writes to the Ephesians, explaining that his gospel ministry “was in accordance with the eternal purpose which God carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.” If you are rightly counted among the faithful, then do not hesitate to heed the song’s exhortation: “Come!” And do so with joy and triumph. The apostle Paul affirms this joy in His letters, especially to the Philippians, wherein he repeatedly urges believers to rejoice in the Lord Jesus Christ, the basis of our sure salvation. Paul affirms also a triumphant approach. In one of his letters to the Corinthians, he confidently proclaims, “Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” And to the Colossians he writes, “When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.” In the gospel of Jesus Christ, there is unparalleled cause for rejoicing and for triumph. Therefore, let us enter into His presence and in such a way.

Sira Anamwong, FreeDigitalPhotos.netCome and behold him

We are then called to do that which Mary did and Martha did not: abide in the presence of Jesus, beholding all that He does, all that He says, all that He is. May our good Christian service never distract us from the perfect object of that service. May our means of worship never supplant its infinitely more glorious end. May Jesus alone and forever be the One we behold!

Born the King of Angels

Here, the song introduces the incarnation of God the Son, reminding us that, even in the flesh, there is no created realm that falls outside His jurisdiction. His kingdom encompasses all, as Paul so clearly expresses to the Ephesians: God “seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” The author of Hebrews further emphasizes Christ’s dominion over the spiritual realm: “When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”? And again, “I will be a Father to Him and He shall be a Son to Me”? And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, and let all the angels of God worship Him.””

And then the refrain (which I will discuss in the next post)…

O come, let us adore Him

O come, let us adore Him

O come, let us adore Him

Christ the Lord

 

[Photo credit: Sira Anamwong, FreeDigitalPhotos.net]