#713. O COME ALL YE FAITHFUL (16/12/22)
Leading up to Christmas Day, I thought it would be good to look at 15 of the most popular carols (chosen by Classic FM listeners) and consider the content and what we can learn from them.
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 O come let us adore Him O come let us adore Him Christ the Lord
God of God Light of light Lo He abhors not the virgin's womb Very God Begotten not created
Sing choirs of angels Sing in exultation Sing all ye citizens of heaven above Glory to God In the highest
Yea Lord we greet Thee Born this happy morning Jesus to Thee be glory given Word of the Father Now in flesh appearing
COME ALL YE FAITHFUL
This is a great invitation to any who have faith - the faithful. Like the shepherds and the wise men (Magi), we are invited to ‘come and adore’ Jesus. The words of the gospel are like our ‘star’ that leads us to worship Jesus - our God and Saviour. The words of the Bible speak - like the angels to the shepherds - of favour and grace in Christ. The faithful are invited to adore Christ and remember again that, in Him, they are ‘triumphant’ and can be ‘joyful’ in a fresh vision of such a Saviour. Are we allowing our hearts, minds and voices to be led, on what may be a dark night, to ‘adore Him’ or do we ignore this invitation? Are we choosing unfaithfulness?
GOD OF GOD
This carol has high theology. it teaches of the double-nature of Christ; He is God and man in one person. These words remind us of John’s words:
‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’ (John 1:1-5)
We are reminded that Jesus was born in ’the virgin’s womb’. God came into the earth in such humble and inauspicious circumstances. We are also reminded that God became a man in order to die on the cross for us. Yes, we are called upon to ‘greet Him this happy morning’, but Christmas is in the foreground to Good Friday and Jesus’ death for us.
WE GREET THEE
This is spoken in the present tense. We sing it as if we are with those shepherds and magi around the manger. However, we also sing it where we are to Jesus who has risen and is present. We sing to the Jesus who was born, who was the Word became flesh, who died and is risen and present with those who have faith - the faithful. Come all ye faithful! come and adore Him! Greet Him in triumph and joy!
TAKE A MOMENT TO LISTEN TO THIS CAROL:
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What has God been speaking to you about from your Bible reading recently?
3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group
This study is based upon our carol service on Sunday.
1. THE CHRISTMAS PROBLEM
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.’ (Matthew 1:18-19)
All of us have problems. Christmas often highlights our difficulties. Jesus was coming into the world to bring great joy, but, initially, all that Mary and Joseph could see on that first Christmas were their big problems.
ROMANS: Jesus is born into a nation that has been invaded and are being controlled by a foreign power.
PREGNANT: Mary, a virgin, is pregnant and not by Joseph her Fiancé! This was a disgrace in their culture.
DIVORCE: He was going to ‘divorce her quietly’ - end their engagement.
STABLE & MANGER: He was going to be born in a stable and manger because they were poor and disrespected. This is far from ideal!
HATED: Herod was going to try to kill Jesus. They are going to have to escape to Egypt and live in a foreign land as refugees.
They had a lot of problems on that first Christmas.
2. THE CHRISTMAS SOLUTION
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’ (Matthew 1:20-21)
For us to handle our troubles with peace, like Joseph and Mary, God wants us to know what Jesus’ name means. His name means 'God saves.'
In their many problems that first Christmas, they are told that joy will come by knowing His name is Jesus.
In the culture of Jesus’ day, names had meanings that you wanted the child to have. God gives Him the name Jesus because that’s what He will be - the Saviour.
3. RECIEVE GOD'S SOLUTION
'All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.’ (Matthew 1:22-25)
In our troubles, to know peace, we have to actually receive Jesus into our lives by putting our faith in His name. We must name Him Jesus - God who saves - for ourselves. Like Joseph, we have to 'wake up' and 'give Him the name Jesus'.
This Christmas, may we give Him the name ‘Jesus’ - may we believe that Jesus is our Saviour and invite Him into our lives.
i. Did you feel that God spoke to you from any particular aspect of Sunday's message?
ii. What are the 'names' or titles given to Jesus in Matthew 1:18-25?
ii. How does knowing the various names and titles given to Jesus help us in our lives?
iii. What other names can you think of that are given to God or Jesus?
iv. How can you grow in knowing God's names better?
PRAYER AND SIV
SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories of sharing your faith?
SIV- Let's pray for those that God has put on our hearts.