A deeper look at O Holy Night
I don't normally enjoy listening to Christmas songs that become so popular, they are merely sung only to show off the range in the singer's vocal chords - meaning - the richness of the words are typically missed, not only for the one singing, but also for the audience hearing. I say that only because I have fallen prey to it too - not the singing part because I am a horrible singer - but I have often listened to popular Christmas songs and have focused more on the singing than the actual words. I am sure I am not alone.
However....one particular song has been stuck in my head for weeks now. I wake up in the morning and the words are like an alarm clock, pestering me to get out of bed. I go about my day and hear the words echoing in my thoughts. I cannot get away from this song.
The last time I heard this song sung was a few weeks ago at the local homeless shelter where I volunteered. Another male volunteer led a chapel service and had passed around 1965 hymnals for the homeless to sing out of. I was slightly annoyed at the thought of singing out of a hymnal, a 1965 one at that.
I had heard this song in the past through various Christmas celebrations or programs that churches normally do this time of year. As I grudgingly flipped through the pages looking for the song, I knew my heart was being ugly. When the room full of homeless started singing the song, a capela mind you.... my heart began to soften. For some strange reason, there seemed to be new life to the song.....new breath to the words. I had to hold back tears due to reading anew, the depth and magnitude of the words I was quietly singing.
O Holy Night
This was no ordinary night. It wasn't even a "special"night.
This was the night that the God of creation, the Ancient of Days stepped down into His creation and became one of us.
Holy night indeed.
The stars are brightly shining
Previously living in the middle of no-where in a small town in Texas helps put these words into perspective. The stars seem to shine the brightest when it is pitch black all around for miles. The stars, in the desert, their brightness is sharper, clearer and more magnificent. Deep in the heart of darkness, light shines a thousand fold.
The darkness of sin - illuminated by the Holy One
It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth
Can we even fully grasp that Jesus, literally God with us, being born?
Leaving the glorious heavenly places.....for what pray tell?
For those that are His. Ahh!
The ones, most of whom had yet to be born when He was born.
Yet he knew them. He looked forward, not down, into what we call history, and knew who would be His.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption in accordance with his pleasure and will
That's why He was born....that holy night.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Up to the point of Christ's birth, the world had taken creation and made it worse. Sin does that.
They had taken the laws of God and turned them into yokes of bondage that no one escaped.
Groaning under the weight and dominance of sin left souls parched.
Mistake after mistake after mistake, weighing down lives, with no hope of real restitution
Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth
Under the futile existence of a hopeless and burden producing state, only the souls that understand there is no remedy, can now see and fully grasp what Jesus coming into the world really means.
The souls of those that are His, feel the magnitude of His appearance.
Breath....is given. The air is no longer restricted. It moves freely in the lungs.
Take a deep breath
Jesus has come!
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
The sudden realization that there is a hope to our state of desolation is almost unreal. Feelings of giddy excitement is unimaginably overwhelming.
The world looks and asks "is this really possible?"
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
A new reality is coming onto the horizon.
A game changer.
The old has passed, the new has come.
Fall on your knees
This too-much-to-bear hope makes us weak with a relief so great, our souls saturated with thoughts of rescue, it brings us to our knees in utter thankfulness.
Yet, even that simple outward act seems miniscule to what our souls exude internally.
O hear the angel voices
Luke 2 tells of a multitude of heavenly hosts of angels praising God, proclaiming
Glory to God in the highest
and.....on earth.....peace among those with whom he is pleased, on whom his favor rests
Even the angels knew that Jesus coming to be born that night, that holy night...changed wonderfully the state and souls for whom God's favor rests.
They knew for those that hear His voice, those He predestined before the foundations of the world, those are the very ones that will have peace while on this earth. It surely was not a trite idea of peace. The kind of peace the angels are proclaiming is the peace that rests in someone's soul. God's plan to redeem His people was perfectly laid out for the world to see - and the angels rejoiced at seeing it!
Truly He taught us to love one another
Jesus tells us that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. He show us what that looks like over and over again. He tells us by showing love, mercy and grace to the woman at the well who had a promiscuous past, the tax collector who stole from hard working people, the woman hated simply for belonging to a different ethnic group, the demon possessed man living in cave, the adulterous woman that church leadership wanted to stone.
Jesus was able to love those people because He was first loved by His Father.
Jesus was love.
Those outward superficial differences didn't stop Jesus from loving the people around Him. He teaches us a new way to love.
His law is love and His gospel is peace
This new law of love flows out of being loved by God. For those He calls His, they will be known by their love. They don't let differences get in the way of showing that we belong to Christ.
This new law of love has no boundaries. It flows from what used to be areas of our hearts filled with despair and strife, but now oozes with peace - a beautiful, quiet, deep in our hearts peace.
Chains shall He break the slave is our brother
Christ is the only remedy to break chains of bondage to sin.
We are able to see when others are entrapped in this bondage because we were once a slave to sin too.
And in His name, all oppression shall cease
So we cry out to Christ, and pray in His name for those we love, our neighbors we call brother, sister, mother, father, friend, co-worker, son, daughter, wife, husband, because we know that the only solution to oppressive soul choking sin....is Him.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus we raise
Oh how sweet it is to see Christ giving life to others
This grows in us a gratitude of deep joy
We let all within us praise His holy name
We can, with sincere hearts and overflowing gratitude sing
Christ is the Lord
O praise His name forever
His power and glory
ever more proclaim
O night divine
Yes....that prophetic night was no ordinary night.
O night, when Christ was born