Venite, adoremus Dominum. Translated into English, the invitation remains open to all: O come, let us adore Him. Thus begins the exceptional and beloved Christmas carol, Adeste Fideles (“O Come, All You Faithful”). Known as the “international carol,” it was written in Latin by an Englishman, John Francis Wade, who was living in Douai, France, translated into English by Frederick Oakeley (1802-1880), and propagated by the Portuguese through the Chapel of the Portuguese Embassy in London.
Written over 270 years ago, Wade invited the faithful to “come ye to Bethlehem, come and behold Him, born the King of angels.” The author of the third Gospel, Luke, recorded that after the angelic host appeared to the shepherds, they said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us” (Lk. 2:15). Following in the footsteps of the shepherds will always lead us to see that “the Child that played with the moon and sun, is playing with a little hay” (G.K. Chesterton).
According to the prophet Micah, “the ruler of Israel” would come forth from Bethlehem Ephrathah (Micah 5:2). And theologian Carl H.F. Henry (1913-2003) reminds us that “the claim of the Christian religion has been that Israel’s long-expected Messiah came historically in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, that he is the unique means by whom human beings experience God savingly, and that Jesus Christ has universal divine authority.”
Every year, the invitation to return to Bethlehem to worship the newborn King still stands. The Christmas essays presented here have been prepared to direct your minds and hearts to the One who came to redeem us from our sins. As you linger in quiet moments and favorite places, may you come to know Him more intimately as the incarnate Son of God who loves you and gave Himself for you (Gal. 2:20).
The fascinating story behind the man and the composition of a beloved Christmas carol.
View The Life of Phillips Brooks
Gold was intended for the child as being the King, Frankincense for him as being God, Myrrh for him as destined to die.
View The Gifts of the Magi