Sunday, December 19, 2010
I have sung the beloved Christmas hymn, "O Come, All Ye Faithful", since I was a child. I remember singing it in numerous school productions and, of course, every year in our church Christmas pageant or play. It is a song I love and it is my favorite of the traditional Christmas carols.
This year, though, I found myself reflecting on the words used in its composition, specifically the word "faithful". Why would the author of this song choose this particular term in his invitation to come and adore the Saviour? I mean, Jesus was a newborn babe in a manger with hardly any time at all for anyone to become faithful to Him. At least, not in the way I perceived becoming faithful. How could one become faithful to a person or a cause that had not yet been truly revealed or studied? I found my answer in two Biblical passages.
The prophecy of Isaiah became my part one of the answer to my quest. I remembered the beautiful words of Isaiah 7:14,
"Therefore, the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive; and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
In studying the definition of the word faithful, I learned that it is defined as something that is , "worthy of trust or belief", and, "consistent with fact". The above passage in Isaiah, beautiful as it is, was only a prophecy---only words from the pen of a holy man. Only words---until they were believed.
The children of Israel did not take these words lightly. They did, indeed, consider them worthy of trust, for they came from a prophet of God. Because of their belief, the words of the prophet became worthy of their trust. Since the prophecy was deemed faithful, those who believed were also deemed faithful.
My second passage came from the glorious description of the Jesus' birth in Luke 2:10-12,
"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."
The prophecy of Isaiah had come to pass. According to the definition of faithful, the prophecy had become consistent with fact. The birth of Jesus was foretold and, now, it had become a reality. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, delivered of a virgin mother. No wonder angels filled the sky and Heaven's light flooded the earth. The Prince of Heaven had descended to earth to fulfill His Father's plan.
From the moment of His birth, the faithful came. Those with loyal hearts to the words of the prophet, those who believed He was sent from God, those who could not explain the miraculous events surrounding His birth by any other means, these were the faithful. And they came for one reason---they came to adore Him.
Oh, how grateful I am to be one of the faithful. How I treasure the assurance I have in my heart that this tiny baby boy was, indeed, the Messiah. How grateful I am to know in my heart that He is Christ, the Lord. He is worthy of all my praise---all my honor---all the glory I can give to Him. Oh, how I love my Jesus, the Lord of my heart.
No longer does the manger exist where He laid His baby head. The shepherds who heard the angels sing have long since been laid to rest. Oh, but the story I can read, the words I can hide in my heart, and, yes, I can still adore Him---and I do.
The composer of my favorite Christmas hymn had an insight into the story of His birth. Only the faithful---only those who believe in Him---only those who trust Him---only these can truly adore Him. I have found myself wanting to adore Him more each day. His birth has given me the opportunity to spend eternity in His presence, in true joy and peace.
May we all come to truly realize that the babe in the manger was not just a babe. He was the fulfillment of the promise, the long awaited King, He was Christ, the Lord. I give Him all the glory. I remain one of the faithful---and I am still coming to adore Him.