O Holy Night (stanza 1)
O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of Our dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world In sin and error pining,
‘Til He appear’d 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 angels’ voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.
Nothing helps me get into the spirit of Christmas more than singing my favorite carols, many of which are hymns that carry prescious memories with them. Many a Sunday have I stood in the pew hearing my parents’ and grandparents’ voices next to me while singing these treasures. When our boys were young, and still now on long trips, singing was a great family pastime for car rides. Often these trips carried us home to see our family in South Carolina. Thanksgiving and Christmas would find us traveling, and someone would just begin singing. Though it might begin with a lighter version of Rudolph, the classic old hymns that I learned in the pews of our home church always made it in. Sometimes they would be sung with great reverence, others with great flourish! O Holy Night brought out deep mature voices from eight-year-old boys in the dark of the evening. There is a certain forgiveness in the dark, in the car, with just your family. No judgment, no audience, just those you love and our Lord to hear the splendor. It is a blessing with teens and college-age children to have traditions that they will still participate in as if everyone else in the world does this annually as we do. At times now, with teenage drivers and more independence abounding, more than one car goes to South Carolina. The voices and love, however, still ring clear. John Sullivan Dwight’s version of O Holy Night, as seen above, is one of my favorite Christmas carols.
The words bring into focus the magnitude of the gift God has given when sending the babe Jesus to us. In this world we live in today, with the language watered down, slang, and so casual, I enjoy the celebratory, rich words used to describe this fabulous event in history: our history as Christians. As He lay in the manger, He represented hope for the world, hope and forgiveness for us as sinners! What a love God has for us to send His Son to show us His love. May we each feel such joy at the “glorious morn” of the birth, that we are willing to “fall on our knees” in praise and gratitude. What a truly DIVINE and HOLY Night it was and IS!
O Holy God, let us feel this joy during the season and share it with the world. In your holy name we pray. Amen.
Elaine H. Johnson