Englishman John Francis Wade (1711-86) wrote this hymn in France after fleeing his home country to escape the Jacobite rebellion. Although he intended it simply as a religious hymn, it’s since become a popular Christmas carol. Modern day British, who have a knack for musical humor, have found a more dyspeptic use for this melody—when waiting in a slow moving que, some wag will launch into this tune with the words “O why are we waiting?”
On a technical note, the final chord contains every letter of the musical alphabet except “F.” (My arrangements are family oriented.) In making this, I tried for something ethereal, simple, and strange.
(Audio file generated by Finale Music Notation Software.)