Hymn of the Week: O Come All Ye Faithful / Adeste Fideles
Posted by Melanie in Hymns, Uncategorized

For many years, we’ve taught our children the hymns of the faith through what we call the Hymn of the Week. Each day we sing all the verses of the song we’re learning and explain one of the verses. By the end of the week, even the young children have learned to sing the hymn and understand it. We can sing for hours in the van without a hymnbook – such a blessing! Last week and this, we decided to share our Hymn of the Week studies with you. Enjoy!

Adoration of the Magi, Rubens, 1617-18

O Come All Ye Faithful/Adeste Fideles

O Come All Ye Faithful is the English translation of the Latin hymn Adestes Fideles. There is a great deal of dispute as to who wrote it. A variety of authors have been proposed, from St. Bonaventure in the 13th Century to King John IV, the Musician King, of Portugal, when his daughter Catherine traveled to England to marry King Charles II. A likely author and probable composer is John Francis Wade, who first published the hymn text and tune together in his Cantus Diversi in 1751. Whole academic dissertations have been written on the origin of this great hymn.

Starting tonight, we’ll be publishing each day an explanation of one verse of O Come All Ye Faithful. Did you know one verse is taken almost exactly from the ancient Nicene Creed? We’ll also be learning about the role of angels in Scripture and who is called the Word. Click on the title to get the tune.

O Come All Ye Faithful

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him, born the King of angels;


O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

God of God, Light of Light,
Lo, He abhors not the Virgin’s womb;
Son of the Father, begotten, not created;


Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation;
O sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God, all glory in the highest;


Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be all glory given;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.


If you are studying Latin with your children, or plan to, they may really enjoy singing the original Latin words.

Adeste Fideles laeti triumphantes,
Veníte, veníte in Bethlehem.
Natum vidéte, Regem Angelorum:

Veníte adoremus,
Veníte adoremus
Veníte adoremus Dóminum

Deum de Deo, lumen de lúmine,
gestant puellae viscera
Deum verum, genitum non factum:


Cantet nunc io chorus Angelórum
cantet nunc aula caelestium:
Gloria in excelsis Deo:


Ergo qui natus, die hodierna
Jesu, tibi sit glória
Patris aeterni Verbum caro factum:


There are four additional verses written by a Catholic priest in the mid 1800s. Our family had never heard these before this year, but our son tells us they are much more common in England and Europe. We won’t be discussing these, but are including them for your interest.

See how the shepherds, summoned to His cradle,
Leaving their flocks, draw nigh to gaze;
We too will thither bend our joyful footsteps;


Lo! star led chieftains, Magi, Christ adoring,
Offer Him incense, gold, and myrrh;
We to the Christ Child bring our hearts’ oblations.


Child, for us sinners poor and in the manger,
We would embrace Thee, with love and awe;
Who would not love Thee, loving us so dearly?


Thanks for worshipping with us this week! See you this evening with the verse for tomorrow!

Please leave us a comment and let us know what you think about the idea of our upcoming Hymn of the Week curriculum.