December 1, 2022
Of the Father’s Love Begotten Intern Bridget
I was first introduced to the Christmas Hymn, “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” when I was at Wartburg College for undergrad. We sang it in Chapel Choir as a part of the Christmas Service before finals. I thought that it was beautiful both the words and the melody.
The words of “Of the Father Love Begotten” were written in the early fifth century, by a great Christian poet from Spain after he had retired from a successful life as a court official for Emperor Theodosius I at age 57. It was written shortly after the Nicene Creed was adapted. The hymn was used to affirm Trinitarian doctrine and as an answer in the debate about whether Jesus was the same as the Father or whether Jesus was created by the Father. The poet wrote a larger book of poetry that the hymn came from. The hymn “O Chief of Cities, Bethlehem” (LBW 81) is another hymn that comes from the same book of poetry.
The whole song is rich with Trinitarian theology. Phrases like “Ere the worlds began” and “By the Holy Ghost conceiving.” The fifth verse reads like a creed.
Christ, to thee, with God the Father,
And, O Holy Ghost, to thee,
Hymn and chant and high thanksgiving
and unwearied praises be:
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory
Evermore and evermore! Amen
This hymn was and still is a great teaching tool about the Trinity.