The Trumpet Sounds: ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’

By Barry Pettit - Religion Columnist

I love Christmas Carols! I remember growing up we would go caroling from house to house throughout our little town. The people we sang to received it and embraced it even if the singing wasn’t all that great. I believe it had more to do with the Christmas spirit than a Christmas performance.

Still to this day I remember the look of joy on their faces as they opened the door smiling just because we took the time to come by and sing a few Christmas Carols. One of my favorite Christmas Carols is “O Come All Ye Faithful.” You’ve heard the words a thousand times: “O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant… O come let us adore Him.”

We envy the shepherds who actually saw the baby Jesus, and returned with a message of joy that pierced the midnight air. We can’t join them in Bethlehem, but we can adore Jesus in worship —“O come let us adore Him.” But how can we “adore Him?” During his ministry Jesus once said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me….” Jesus said this referring to the religious people of His day. To put it in modern terms, “You sing the right songs, you recite the proper prayers, you attend the right services, but your heart isn’t in it.”

You see, words are no substitute for the true affection of the heart. That part of us that no one sees is what is most important to Him. Adoration is first and foremost an attitude of delightful worship that our love for Christ rules at the core of our lives. Many times we so casually associate worship with church attendance that it is easy to get the impression they are one and the same. But Jesus told the woman of Samaria that the time had come when worship was not a matter of location, but rather a matter of being done “in spirit and in truth.”

O Come All Ye Faithful! We are to worship “in spirit”—that is, worship is a matter of personal desire and lifestyle. Please take this from my heart to yours: if we are not adoring Christ during the week, it’s highly unlikely that we will adore Him on Sunday. Jesus said it was a matter of truth, the truth about God, and our personal honesty about who we are in His presence.

You see, we adore what is most precious to us. The miser adores his wealth. The evolutionist might adore his knowledge. The politician might adore his position. We all have what C.S. Lewis called an “overwhelming first.” The New Testament teaches that this is the spot that should be reserved for Jesus. Adoration is our privilege, but it is also our obligation. Jesus is worthy to be “first.”

Experience teaches us that it is difficult to seriously adore Christ during the Christmas season. As long as we are consumed by getting and giving, we simply have neither the time nor the focus to adore the One whose birthday we celebrate. I’ve found it odd to hear Christians ask the question “Will we have church Christmas Sunday?” Please understand Christmas is about Christ. Christmas is not about the parties, gifts, or indulgence in material things. Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Christ. Why would we not worship Christ on the very day we are supposed to celebrate His birth?

You see many people are content with singing about adoration, rather than doing it. However, this Christmas there will be those who actually rid their hearts of rivals, refocus their lifestyles, and take the time to bow before the now triumphant Christ. There were many shepherds out on the hills of Judea, but only a few were invited to the stable. Now they beckon us to join their company. They are asking us to remember that Christmas is not about us, but about Jesus. Let’s accept their invitation, and come to “Adore Him!”

This Sunday at South Side we will examine this wonderful Christmas Carol at 10:45. We would love to have you, and your family worship with us! O Come All Ye Faithful!

In Christ,

Barry Pettit

Lead Minister

South Side Church of Christ

By Barry Pettit

Religion Columnist