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The United Benefice of Withington, Sevenhampton with Charlton Abbots, Hawling, Whittington, Dowdeswell and Andoversford, Shipton and Cold Salperton

This month's letter from the clergy

O come let us adore him!

Dear friends,

Our Christmas publicity this year focusses on words from one of our best loved carols. The Carol is, of course, O come all ye faithful. Our publicity picks up on the refrain that is repeated in increasing volume and that the end of each verse - partly for that reason, it is always popular.

The hymn was first published in the 18th century, although it is unclear who first wrote the words, with various possibilities including King John IV of Portugal in the 17th century. One of the things I like about the hymn is it’s ‘invitational’ nature. It is inviting other people to join with us - see what we have discovered and are celebrating, do come and share in that. That is one of the best ways of sharing the good news of Jesus - See what I have found, Jesus makes a difference to my life, and he can make a difference to yours as well.

In the Carol, the first verse, the word ‘come’ is used no less four times, inviting folk to come in heart and mind to Bethlehem, to imagine that we are there. In the second verse there is a celebration of just who Jesus is ‘God of God, light of light’. In those simple words the profound truth of the incarnation is set forth. The baby who is born, is none other than God himself. This is the greatest of all miracles. Other verses encourage to to envisage the shepherds and the wise men coming to child, with the last line of each verse inviting us to join them. With the exception of Christmas Day, the last verse pictures the heavenly choir of angels singing in celebration. But on Christmas Day itself there is an extra verse:

    Yea, Lord, we greet thee
    born this happy morning,
    Jesu, to thee be glory given;
    Word of the Father,
    now in flesh appearing:

It is joyous greeting and a celebration of the opening chapter of John’s gospel. We invite you to come and adore him with us at our Christmas Services and wish all our readers a very happy Christmas