O Holy Night

Raise your hand if you love Christmas music!  /

Raise your hand if you can hardly stand to hear a Christmas song by December 26th. /

It’s just the same 20 songs over and over and over again.  They are some of my favorite songs, but I do get sick of them.

I’m not there yet, though!

But I wonder how often I gloss over the songs that once were written with so much meaning.

We sang a number Christmas carols at my Bible study this morning.  A few of the phrases I’ve sung so many times really stuck out to me.

One of them was in O Holy Night.  It’s probably my favorite carol.  The music is so hauntingly beautiful that it may overpower the significant lyrics.  Read what they say:

It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining;

Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.

The author of these lyrics was Placide Cappeau.  In 1847 he understood what occurred to me just last year.  People had been expecting a Messiah for centuries and in the past 400 years, God had been relatively silent.  His people lay brokenhearted until this night.  A baby was born in the most humble of places and hope spread across the world.  When he appeared, everything made sense again.  I can only imagine that for centuries people doubted God even existed, that he would really keep his promises.  But now the soul felt its worth.  Life had meaning again. A thrill of hope spread across a weary world.

I can see how that kind of hope makes you want to fall on your knees.


In the third verse Cappeau wrote shockingly, liberal phrases for his time:

Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother.

And in His name, all oppression shall cease.

He got a lot of flak for these words.  Cappeau was a Frenchman and though slavery was rare in France in the 1800s, there were many slaves in America when he wrote these words.  A few short years later, our country would go to war over slavery.  I can only imagine how the oppression Christians have dealt throughout history in God’s name breaks His heart.  “Truly he taught us to love one another.”  May that lyric burn in your heart this season.



The lyrics to this song, but more so – the promise Jesus fulfilled that Holy Night, make me want to fall on my knees.

I pray that you pay attention to the words that you sing this season.  Feel the depth of their significance.  May there be moments when you enthusiastically mean what you sing, if you can get any sound out at all.




I’ll dissect more carols in the coming days.