The choice of my favorite Christmas carol goes back to my school days in Scotland. As a 10 year-old in primary (elementary) school, we learned by rote Adeste Fideles, Latin for “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” With our high voices we thoroughly enjoyed the refrain: “Venite adoremus, venite adoremus, venite adoremus Dominum!” Singing about the Lord in Latin seemed particularly mysterious and spiritual to us. When I started learning Latin as a 12 year-old, I was excited to begin to understand the meaning of the carol. Of course, knowing the English version certainly helped!
But beyond these wonderful warm memories and traditions, I would still select “O Come, All Ye Faithful” as my favorite Christmas carol. The carol focuses not on ourselves, but on “Christ the Lord!”
Because I am not the best of singers, I liked that the version we sang usually just had three short verses! But it was one we could sing with enthusiasm, with joy, and with a growing understanding. We were coming to “the King of angels.” We were also joining the “choirs of angels” giving glory to God, and joining the millions of people who down through the centuries have bowed before the King of kings.
Many years later I love to hear the carol sung in the original Latin, and is difficult now for me to think of a celebration of Christmas without this magnificent carol.
“O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!”