Adeste Fideles (be present or near, ye faithful)

Listen and Rejoice

History

In 1744, English layman John Francis Wade wrote and set to music the hymn, Adeste Fideles, celebrating the birth of Christ with worship and adoration. The title is taken from the first words of the original Latin text, and translated literally means “be present or near, ye faithful.”

Over one hundred years later, the carol was translated into its present English form, O Come All Ye Faithful by an Anglican minister, Frederick Oakeley, who desired to use it for his congregation. To date, the “International Carol” has been translated into over 100 languages and is used to celebrate Christmas throughout the world.

Meaning

This is my favorite Christmas hymn, and the video above, featuring LifeChurch.tv‘s worship team, is my favorite arrangement of it. Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to put some good headphones on, hit play, and close your eyes and listen to the piano and organ accompany the choir singing with joy and adoration to our King. It will give you goosebumps!

For those who might be wondering, “why in November”… well… all I can say is I’m learning as I get older to wake up each morning and find joy in the coming of our King. Without Him, hope would be lost. We would not know grace nor love. Without Christ, we would only know darkness and death, a deep chasm between us and our God.

But thankfully He did come, giving up His throne and worshippers for the pain and brokenness of this world –not with splendor or pompous majesty, but with the humility and utter vulnerability of a newborn baby– so He could one day trade our sins for His righteousness, and bridge that gap on our behalf. Oh Immanuel –God is with us– what a sacrifice You made! With each coming daybreak, with each breath, You deserve our praise and our glory! Let each sunrise remind us that through the Father’s gift of His son, Jesus brings light into darkness and true life into death.

“Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing. O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord.”

Goosebumps

crowd

Heart racing… Goosebumps… Smile on my face. What an amazing experience! They had done it! Our team had defeated our opponents and now it was time to celebrate together. I will never forget the adrenaline rush I felt as the crescendo of the crowd’s cheers peaked. Wow! So loud I couldn’t distinguish my own enthusiastic scream from my neighbors’! Each person fully committed to this amazing celebration!

What an awesome party! The cheers and clapping became deafening, and suddenly I was aware that the excitement was so loud that it was vibrating the foundation of the stadium in which we stood. Incredible! I had never experienced anything like this before!

As I looked over the sea of people I was struck with the unity *and* diversity of this multitude. People from all walks of life, all socioeconomic backgrounds, all races and creeds, with virtually nothing in common, had come together to celebrate this moment. All their differences had melted away under the lights of this incredible event. Despite their pasts, they each wore smiles, faces of joy, as they celebrated together… THEY WERE ONE. One in spirit and one in purpose.

Where was I?

Busch Stadium, October 18, 2013, Game 6 of the NLCS when the St. Louis Cardinals won the NL Pennant? No. As proud as I am of the Cards, this was a much bigger event, a significantly larger crowd, a far more important celebration.

I was imagining what heaven will be like, celebrating Christ… not for one night, not even for a season, but for an ETERNITY… and it made my heart race, and it gave me goosebumps.

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11

Have you ever stopped for a moment, closed your eyes, and imagined heaven?

Tattooed Jesus Illustration – Clever or Offensive?

photo used in controversial billboard ad for jesustattoo.org

This controversial-by-design image is generating quite a bit of news stir this morning. (see ABC News story) Apparently a new organization called jesustattoo.org used this picture (copyright jesustattoo.org) on a new billboard along a West Lubbock, Texas highway and many do not like it or understand it.

Of course I did what the maker of this ad hoped I would do: upon seeing it and reading about it, I visited their website to see what they were all about. I mean, after all, that is a representation of God’s Son, my savior, in that contentious photo.

What I found at jesustattoo.org was a video which I encourage you to watch: http://youtu.be/rZvR3o99yL0.

Questions: What do you think of this ad? Is it an over-the-top, offensive use of imagery meant to cause controversy and draw attention? or a clever, modern illustration of the story of the Gospel? or is it both? Leave me a comment to tell me what you think. 

Let It Rain

rain drops
Have you ever woke up early from your slumber with a desperation in your heart for something? This morning I woke up with one desire that led to this simple prayer:

“God let it rain! I am dryer than the sand in a desert. Let your Word pour down on me. I am so very thirsty for You. Amen.”

Questions: Have you ever found yourself desperate to hear from God? Thirsty for His Word?