I figure it’s time I get this blog into the Christmas spirit! For today’s post, I’m resurfacing a post from the archives about a well-known carol–probably sung by thousands around the globe each December.

“O Holy Night” is a French carol written in 1847 by Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure (how’d ya like to trade names with him?).  It was immediately popular in his day, but was later banned for a time by the French church because Cappeau became a socialist and quit attending church, and the composer of the tune, Adolphe-Charles Adam, was Jewish.

Thankfully the song continued to spread over the years and across the world, and was possibly the first music ever broadcast on radio when, on Christmas Eve 1906, it was played on the violin after a reading from the Gospel of Luke.

I used to wonder at the emphasis on the holy night, rather than the holy Child. Because of that, in a way I just dismissed the song altogether. But after a closer look, I realized that the repetition is simply a poetic expression, not necessarily a theological point. And when you stop to think of it, how amazing that day in time must have been when all the promises of times past were fulfilled in that little Child in a manger.

So despite the writer’s tragic rejection of his faith, this song is a beautiful tribute to the Savior incarnate.

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

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here came the wise men from Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our friend!
He knows our need—our weakness is no stranger.
Behold your king; before Him lowly bend!
Behold your king; before Him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name!
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!

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