O Holy Night

O Holy Night (Personal Favorite)

Friday, November 26th, 2010

I’m sure you’ll recognize the words to this familiar Christmas Carol,

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O holy night, O night divine!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

When I grew up, I always loved the power and elegance with which soloists would sing this song. As I got older and I started singing the solo, I personally felt obligated to sing this song with the joy and amazement proclaiming the birth of Christ should inspire in our lives. In fact, when a particular French poet, Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure, considered what it must have been like, he wrote the lyrics to this popular song. Consider just this story from the birth of Christ as recorded in the Gospel of Luke.

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

‘And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.‘

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, ‘Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.’” – Luke 2:8-15 [KJV]

The tragedy behind this song is that it was written by a man who later fell away from the church, even causing the Catholic Church to declare the song unfit to be sung in church because of the questionable writer and other details involved with how this song came to be.

This is unfortunately too often the story of many who consider the amazing story of Christ. Sometimes those familiar with Christ’s story find it amazing and yet not worthy of seriously considering what such a loving God has planned for their life. There will be some who will equate the story of Christ to a myth with a happy ending. Still, others will sometimes forget how the story of Christ ends, with a risen Savior who has triumphed over death. In the end, it is the entire story of Christ and who the Bible claims he was which really makes the difference.

The shepherds, after hearing the birth of Christ proclaimed by the angel, immediately stopped what they were doing and went to learn more about what they had heard. Sadly, today’s response to the amazing claims of a God who sent his son to save us from our failures and our sins is skepticism, disbelief and even anger that the truth of God be held in higher regard than the stories of other faiths.

Perhaps you are looking for the hope of a new way to live your life? Then again, maybe you want something that will give you strength to get through a life that leaves many a person weary? I encourage you to find a bible and read the entire story of Christ according to the Gospel of Luke. Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure found it so inspiring that he penned a timeless Christmas carol; maybe you will go a step farther and find the love and grace of a forgiving, loving God.

Written by Timothy Hegerich – Edited by Caroline Hegerich

There is truth in our world, and it lies within the word of the One who created the world.  It is my prayer that my thoughts and writings echo this truth and inspire you to seek it for your life today.

Want to listen? O Holy Night as performed by Celtic Woman.

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