Advent 2014 – Week 4 Day 2

Oh, holy night! The stars are brightly shining; 
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth. 
Long lay the world in sin and error pining, ‘Til 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!
 Oh, hear the angels’ voices;
 Oh, night divine; oh, night
 When Christ was born;
 Oh, night divine; oh, night,
 Oh, night divine! 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, Oh praise His Name forever! His power and glory evermore proclaim; His power and glory evermore proclaim! Oh night divine; Oh night, Oh night divine! “O Holy Night” is one of the most well known and beloved Christmas hymns, but it didn’t begin as a song. In 1847, a French priest asked Placide Cappeau, a wine merchant and occasional poet, to craft a poem to be read to his congregation for Christmas mass. On a long, bumpy carriage ride, as he meditated on the words found in the Gospel of Luke, Cappeau imagined himself a witness to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. By the time he arrived in Paris, the lyrics for what would become known as "Cantique de Noel" had been completed. As he read over his own words, Cappeau decided that “Cantique de Noel” was not just a poem, but a song in need of a master musician’s hand. He turned to one of his friends, Adolphe Charles Adams, for help. It was an unusual request. While Adams was a trained and well known composer, he was also of the Jewish faith. Regardless, he honored his friend’s request and set the poem to music. The song was performed for the congregation to much acclaim on Christmas Eve. The French embraced this song, but years later, upon Cappeau leaving the church, and after the discovery that the composer Adams was of the Jewish faith, church leaders banned the song from its liturgy throughout France. But the French population refused to let the song fade into obscurity, continuing to sing it, even outside the official approval of the church. In 1855, an American abolitionist, John Sullivan Dwight, heard the carol and loved its vibrant message of hope. His English translation, the version most closely linked to the hymn we know today, quickly became popular in the North during the American Civil War. As we continue in this season of Advent, meditate on the words to this song. Let the chorus wash over you: Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the Angel voices; Oh, night divine; Oh, night when Christ was born; Oh, night divine! Let it be a reminder of God’s magnificence, His power, and a chance to stand in humble adoration.