“O Holy Night” started out as a humble French poem before being transposed to song and eventually into English in 1855.
Since then, it has captured the Christmas season with its soaring choruses, powerful verses, and unique lyrics.
Here’s a funky and beautiful version of the famous hymn (enjoy!).
The Weary World
“O Holy Night” captures the imminent reality of the Son of God being born into our “weary world.”
We’re dragging our exhausted souls and limbs across the finish line of 2020, and our weary state is both recognized and answered in “O Holy Night”…
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
'Til He appears and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
If this year has been one long winter for you, rest in these lyrics. Through Christ there’s a “glorious morn” in His salvation and goodness. Your soul can know “its worth” in Him.
Weary Christian, Rejoice
And to be candid, I write this to you from a weary state. What do we do when we feel it’s impossible to conjure up faith, to put on a smile, or to take that next step?
Well, “O Holy Night” is our humble reminder….
Let all within us Praise His Holy name
Christ is the Lord; O praise His name forever!
His power and glory evermore proclaim
His power and glory evermore proclaim
If you’re tired, only rest can change that.
If you’re anxious and overwhelmed, only resting in God can shift your heart.
Praise and prayer. The two greatest weapons against fear and worry: “Let all within us praise His holy name…”
His Gospel is Peace
As well, the birth of Christ is the announcement, the good news of the good King’s arrival. We get our word for Gospel from the Greek word euangalion. It literally means a “good message,” often reserved for heralding a king.
It’s where we also get the word evangelical. It’s meant to describe a follower of Christ who brings His good news, or Gospel to the world.
And “O Holy Night” recognizes this “thrill of hope,” the good news of King Jesus…
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
But, as I pause and read those lines, I wonder how close American, cultural Christianity aligns with the true euangalion of Christ. Does the outside world look at us and think, They follow a law of love and a Gospel of peace? Or, do they see something different?
I’d encourage you, when you have a moment, to do some quick, independent research about the public's current views of Evangelicalism.
As you do, think of yourself as the part owner of a company, one which you hold major responsibility for. There have been months of specific, timely feedback from your customers and clients. Much of it may be negative, though, about the delivery and message of the product.
Do you listen to the feedback and respond with empathy?
Or, do you hole-up, ignore it, and cast all of your clientele as misguided—or worse—heretical?
We are responsible to something more important and life-changing than any corporation. We are members of the Body of Christ. If the deeds and words of a private company matter, how much more so our life of faith as Christ's followers?
To be honest, I’ve fallen in the trap of frustration in 2020. Have I been a model of love and of the Gospel of the Prince of Peace? I hope so, but I fear I’ve faltered.
And so, my prayer and urgent encouragement for all who follow Christ: Finish 2020 with His Gospel. Cozy up to the Word. Pray often. Act out of a clean conscience and a pure heart.
I’d like to end today with a sizable dab of Scripture. A rich, smokey helping of prophetic sauce, one which Jesus quotes in the New Testament. He declared a portion of this Scripture as having been “fulfilled” by His ministry on earth.
As you read, reflect on your Good King. Think about how you can change the tone of 2020 with a heart softened by His hand…
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.
Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV)
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Still feel weary? Need more rejoicing?
Here are some resources to encourage you through the holidays...