O Holy Night
“Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (I Peter 1:16)
O Holy Night O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining, It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining. Till He appeared and the Spirit 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 angel voices! O night divine, the night when Christ was born; O night, O Holy Night , O night divine! O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
Led by the light of faith serenely beaming, With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand. O’er the world a star is sweetly gleaming, Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land. The King of kings lay thus lowly manger; In all our trials born to be our friends. He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger, Behold your King! Before him lowly bend! Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Truly He taught us to love one another, His law is love and His gospel is peace. Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother. And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, With all our hearts we praise His holy name. Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we, His power and glory ever more proclaim! His power and glory ever more proclaim!
The words and lyrics of the old carol ‘O Holy Night’ were written by Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure in 1847). The music for the poem was composed by Adolphe Charles Adams (1803-1856. It was translated into English by John Sullivan Dwight (1812-1893).
During this Christmas season countless people will sing the words to this familiar Christmas carol. Many will know the true meaning of these wonderful words and will sing with joy and praise to the Saviour of the World. Tragically, others will sing this carol, scarcely hearing the words and never letting them penetrate their heart. I Peter 1:16 tells us to ” Be ye holy; for I am holy. ” What a holy night it was the night of our Saviour’s birth. That night the stars shone so brightly that wise men could see them from a far. The shepherds rejoiced and heaven looked on as the tiny babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger came to ” seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). There was nothing ordinary about that night, the night Christ made His entrance into this world. It was a night like none other. It was a holy night!
Let us not be guilty of missing the importance of that night or of the words of this beloved Christmas carol which so eloquently describes the Holiness of that night and of God Himself. So, join me as we walk through the scriptures and discover the awe, the wonder and the miracle of that holy night when Christ came to earth.
The Saviour was born and the star was brightly shining. ” When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy” (Matthew 2:9-10). Just as those wise men were following the light to find the Saviour we too can follow the light and find the Saviour. ” Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12). In Him is eternal day. There is no darkness in Christ. His light ” leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3). Wise men still follow Jesus.
The world lay in sin and error pining until that blessed holy night. It was filled with depravity, despair and sin until Jesus came and broke the power of sin for every believer. ” For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous ” (Romans 5:19). ” All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God ” (Romans 3:23). There was no hope for this world before Jesus came because no one or no thing could forever pay the penalty of sin but Jesus. But, on that night, on that holy night, the holiest of all nights, a Saviour came that we ” might have life, and that they (we) might have it more abundantly ” (John 10:10).
This babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manager was the blessed hope of all glory. ” Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ ” (Titus 2:13). ” By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God ” (Romans 5:2). There lying in that manager was something extraordinary. It was God in human flesh. It was hope, joy and peace. It was love, grace and mercy. Just as the wise men and shepherds rejoiced that night, you can too. By believing in Him you can find peace. ” Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost ” (Romans 15:13).
The Bible tells us that there was a light that shone round about them. The glory of God was all around. This was no ordinary baby. This babe lying in this manager was the Saviour of the world and the King of Kings. He was a sign of God’s love and by far His greatest gift. By faith, all may come to know Him and daily you can open His gifts of love, mercy and grace. Where there is God, there is peace. ” And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them : and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. ” (Luke 2:9-11). ” For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast ” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
There was something miraculous about this babe lying in a manger. Though people came from miles around to see Him, not knowing Him, He knew them each and every one. He knew them by name. ” Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb ” (Jeremiah 1:5). He knew them intimately. ” For your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him ” (Matthew 6:8). He knew our frailties, our weaknesses, our trials and our temptations. Still, He invited us to come. ” Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need ” (Hebrews 4:14-16).
This babe, the King of Kings, didn’t come in judgment but in love. ” For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved ” (John 3:16-17). He was the friend of sinners (Matthew 11:19). ” Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).
What was the message this babe in the manger was bringing? It was ” to give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins” (Luke 1:77). For “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved ” (Acts 4:12). His message of salvation was the ultimate message of love. He preached love. He gave love. He demonstrated love. Then He became love. ” For He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (II Corinthians 5:21). He loved us and then commanded us to love one another. ” As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love” (John 15:9).
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:11-14). ” For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” (Matthew 6:13). O, what a holy night.