And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. – Luke 2:15
When I read this poem by Lucinda Berry Hill, tears come to my eyes. I can’t help it – so much of my family is in Heaven now, and although I know we will be reunited one day, for the time being, we are not together. I’m left here to celebrate without them. We have the same Lord and we celebrate His birthday – and yes, they are saying Happy Birthday while I say Merry Christmas.
I then thought of the old Christmas carol called “O Come, All Ye Faithful”. ALL ye faithful… citizens of earth and citizens of Heaven! God wants everyone to come together to celebrate the birth of Christ!
John Francis Wade wrote the Latin version, called “Adeste Fideles”. Wade fled England after the 1745 Jacobite rebellion to teach music in the school for British Roman Catholic exiles in Douai in France. Published in 1760, it’s been suggested that it might have incidentally served as a coded rallying cry for the Stewart cause.
The English translation was written by Frederick Oakley and William Brooke in 1841. Samuel Webbe is credited with writing the tune, but unfortunately, it reminds many of us of the road rage anthem, “Why are we waiting?” I don’t know who first sang those annoying words with that beautiful tune, but I’d like to punch them. It frustrates me for two reasons:
(1) I don’t want to hear the tune to a Christmas carol at some time besides Christmas.
(2) I don’t want to hear the words WHY ARE WE WAITING sung to a tune that clearly deserves lyrics with more depth. It’s childish. Stop it.
It does my heart good though, to think about my family – a part of the faithful – celebrating Christ’s birthday along with me. God knows how to give me glimmers of hope around Christmas, and I’m thankful for that.