Countdown to Christmas: Day 4. "O Come, All Ye Faithful"

O Come, All Ye Faithful

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, Christ the Lord.

Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to thee be glory given!
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing!
O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

Christmas isn’t only about giving gifts, it’s about receiving them. The giver acquires the gift, wraps the gift and presents the gift. The recipient accepts the gift, opens the gift and, hopefully, acknowledges both the gift and the giver. 

In the case of this hymn, the gift is Jesus, “Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.” Until his arrival in the manger, Christ-the second person of the Trinity, has been mostly hidden, veiled from those he comes to save. At Christmas, we celebrate his appearing in person, his arrival in the flesh. Theologians call this the incarnation, God is fully embodied in flesh, to walk among us.

That said, it’s not enough for the gift to be given, the gift must be opened, acknowledged and received. It’s not enough to believe the majestic gift is given; this moment demands an active response from the recipient. To use a well-known Christmas morning phrase, “some assembly is required.”

Just as breathless children race to the Christmas tree to find a pile of gifts, the shepherds sprint to ancient Bethlehem to greet this baby, to behold this Messiah, to adore this King.

Here’s the question I’m asking as we count down to Christmas: Have I moved in the direction of Jesus? Have I approached him to truly behold him? To wait in wonder? To pause with peace? I’m realizing I can circle around the stable and never really enter in. Let’s not miss it. Let’s take a step, take a breath, bend our knees and behold the King of Angels.

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Craig Custance