a weary world..., Advent

O Come, Ye Unfaithful, Despairing, and Defeated

O Come, All Ye Faithful is one of my favorite Christmas hymns. The repeated refrain “O come let us adore Him” feels like it draws me closer and closer with each phrase. However, the first line struck me as odd when I heard it for the first time this season:

“O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant.”

“More like unfaithful, despairing, and defeated” came my sarcastic side-comment. (There might have been an eye roll as well.)

The specific week leading up to that thought had been discouraging, specifically in all the ways I felt I hadn’t lived up to the call God had for me, the ways I had been unfaithful, the ways I was discouraged and lacking joy in that moment, the ways I felt anything but triumphant. It all led me to wonder…

Is there room for me? Can I come too?

I’m not trying to criticize a beautiful hymn I love, yet I think it’s missing part of the picture. God does long for the faithful, joyful, and triumphant to come, but that’s not all. Time and time again throughout Scripture we see that Jesus came to earth so that the outcast, lonely, and discouraged could also come. That’s what this Advent and Christmas season is all about.

Yes, there was room for me. The adoration called for in this hymn comes when we remember that our Savior was born to redeem our unfaithfulness. In that there is true joy and triumph. It’s not about our faithfulness, but His. God of God. Light of Light. He is steady and true. All glory to Him, the Word who appeared in flesh.

So yes, come, faithful ones… come, let us adore Him.
Come, also, unfaithful ones.

Come with your weary hearts and your stubborn minds.
Come adore Him.

Come defeated and discouraged, lonely and lost.
Come adore Him.

Come joyful ones filled with hope.
Come cautious ones filled with doubt.
Come adore Him.

Come strong ones and weak ones.
Come adore Him.

O come, ye unfaithful, despairing, and defeated.

Oh come let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord!

woman alone looking up at the sky; snow falling with trees around

2 thoughts on “O Come, Ye Unfaithful, Despairing, and Defeated”

    1. Thanks! I stumbled upon it a few days after I wrote this (before I published it) and have fallen in love with the song

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