Just stop and pay attention to this most splendid of hymns. If you do not know what makes a good hymn, stop and analyze this. Firstly , the poetry is deeply theological, beautiful and moving. Second, the hymn tune matches the words perfectly. It is solemn, majestic and stirring. Third, the hymn and the words are accessible to anyone and singable by all. Fourth, it is full of Christian truth. It catechizes. Fifth, it fits with the liturgy of the day for Advent.
I have come across some traditionalist Catholics who are “purists” and reject hymns because they are “Protestant”. What ignorance! How sad to block out these great contributions to the worship of the Lord. Oh yes, I understand the liturgical purity of the Roman rite and that hymns “intrude” and so forth and so on, but this hymn for Advent, written by one of the sweetest and most talented of Christians–Charles Wesley.