O Come, All Ye Faithful
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.1
Many classic hymns have been categorized by seasons or holidays, but were written to be sung all through the year. We sing “Christmas songs” without much thought to the words we are singing. Such was the case with this beloved carol.
John Francis Wade, author of this hymn, was an English refugee in France and Portugal in 1745. He was a Roman Catholic layman, but because of a rise in persecution, he had been forced to flee. And so, he searched for a way to support himself. In those days, the printing of musical scores was cumbersome, and copying them by hand was an art. Wade taught music in the famous Roman Catholic College and Ministry Center in Douay, France and became renowned as a copyist of musical scores. His work was exquisite.
In 1743, Wade had produced a copy of a Latin hymn that began with the phrase Adeste Fideles, Laeti Triumphantes. When John Wade passed away in August 1786, his obituary honored him for his beautiful manuscript that adorned chapels. As Time passed, English Catholics began returning to Britain and they carried many of Wade's Latin hymns with them. One day, an Anglican Minister named Rev. Frederick Oakeley, came across Wade’s Latin Christmas Carol. Being deeply moved, he translated it into English. The first line of Oakeley's translation said: “Ye Faithful, Approach Ye”.
Somehow, “Ye Faithful, Approach Ye” didn't catch on, and several years later Oakeley tried again. As he repeated over and over the Latin phrase Adeste Fideles, Laeti Triumphantes he finally came up with the simpler more vigorous O Come, All Ye Faithful, Joyful and Triumphant! Two men, living a hundred years apart, writing in two different nations, combined their talents to bid us come, joyful and triumphant, and adore Him born the King of Angels.
Jesus calls to His faithful today! Will you come, worship, and adore Christ the Lord?
“O come, let us adore Him, O come, Let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him -
Christ the Lord”2
Suggested Prayer: Dear Lord, I want to be found faithful, not just at Christmastime, but all through the year. I want your truth to ring loud through me so that all the world will know that the King has come! I come in adoration to worship, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Matthew 2:11 (KJV).
“O Come All Ye Faithful” latin hymn by John Francis Wade, 1743. Translated by Fredrick Oakeley.
Today’s Encounter was written by: Veronica B.
All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.