Sunday, December 22, 2013

"O Come, All Ye Faithful"

I am deviating some from the "history" of the carols, but the following story related to "O Come, All Ye Faithful" is too good not to share. 

Once again, this is taken from Robert J. Morgan's "Near to the Heart of God - Meditations on 366 Best-Loved Hymns." (If you want to see the recent related "hymn history" posts, keep scrolling.)

"The Christmas truce on Flanders Field in Belgium is a timeless testimony to the power of the birth of Christ.

"On the western front of World War I, a brief, unofficial cessation of hostilities occurred between British and German forces. It began on Christmas Eve 1914, when German soldiers in their trenches began singing 'Silent Night.' The British stopped firing and began singing English carols. Soon the troops were greeting each other across no-man's-land and exchanging small gifts.

"According to the written account of an unknown British soldier, the next morning, December 25, 1914, was foggy and very cold. Neither side began firing; the truce held. Some British troops went over to the German side to help bury a slain soldier and then returned for a Christmas worship service.

"'How we did sing, 'O Come, All Ye Faithful,'" he wrote to his family. 'I never expected to shake hands with Germans between the firing lines on Christmas Day, and I don't suppose you thought of us doing so. So after a fashion we've enjoyed our Christmas.' The next day the war resumed."

O come, all ye faithful joyful and triumphant 
Oh come ye O come ye to Bethlehem; 

Come and behold him born the King of angels; 
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: 
O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord. 

Sing choirs of angels, sing in exultation 
Sing all ye citizens of heaven above; 
Glory to God in the highest: 
O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord. 

See how the shepherds summoned to his cradle, 
Leaving their flocks, draw nigh with lowly fear; 
We too will thither hend our joyful footsteps; 
O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord. 

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning; 
Jesus, to Thee be glory given; 
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing: 
O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

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