“Oh come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant…”
Why have I never really thought about this before? Why have I never stopped to wonder why the author of this very familiar Christmas hymn chose to use the word triumphant?
The “joyful” part I get. The “come and behold” invitation seems appropriate. But triumphant? Isn’t that a word reserved for Easter morning?
But the more I thought about it, the more I began to see that the word triumphant is a very appropriate Christmas word. The King of Heaven had come to earth! Sure, He was “disguised” as a newborn baby, and the circumstances and birthplace situation were less than ideal. But angels were proclaiming glory, shepherds were bowing down and a spotlight in the form of a big star was burning overhead. The baby’s arrival signaled the beginning of the greatest rescue of all time!
I still love the songs that talk about mangers, deep and dreamless sleep, all things calm and bright, the world in solemn stillness. I love the candlelight services and I’d love to see the world go quiet with some softly falling snow.
But I don’t want the triumphant part of Christmas to slip by unnoticed, especially when the songs have been sung, the presents have been opened and the big meals have been consumed. When Christmas day is over for another year, I want one word and one thought to remain.
Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph! Psalm 47:1
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ. 2 Corinthians 2:14
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37