Find today’s Family Advent Activity at the bottom of today’s reading.
O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth.
So begins one of the most beloved Christmas carols in America. I have vivid memories of singing this song during my church’s candlelight Christmas Eve services as a child. When I focus on the lyrics of this song, I am transported to the cold night in Bethlehem when God entered the world in the form of a helpless child.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till 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
This song found its beginnings in France in 1847. A Catholic priest asked a parishioner and poet, named Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure, to write a poem for the Christmas Eve service. Placide Cappeau was a nominal Catholic at best, but on his way to Paris, he opened the book of Luke and imagined himself under the Bethlehem sky. Once he finished the poem, he asked his friend Adolphe Charles Adams to compose music for it. Adolphe was Jewish.
Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.
The song was performed during the Christmas Eve service that Christmas and was immediately embraced by the French Catholic church. Sadly, in the following years, Placide Cappeau walked away from the church, and after finding out about the Jewish ancestry of the composer, the Catholic church in France banned the song.
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.
Some years later, American writer John Sullivan Dwight found the song. He translated it from its original French and introduced it to the American people. Not only did he love it as a Christmas hymn but also used it to promote his belief that slavery was wrong. It became a popular hymn during the Civil War.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Tradition also has it that in France during the Franco-Prussian War, a French soldier suddenly jumped out of the trenches on Christmas Eve and began singing the song, which resulted in a 24-hour cease-fire.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
Finally, on Christmas Eve 1906, Reginald Fessende, a university professor and chemist for Thomas Edison, became the first voice to be broadcast over radio waves. He read from Luke 2 and then picked up his violin and played “O Holy Night” to the shock and amazement of all who heard.
This song demonstrates the power of God to use all people for his glory. It was commissioned by a forgotten priest, written by an irreligious poet, composed by a Jewish musician, banned by the church, used for a social and political agenda, and finally, broadcast over radio waves to the ears of an astonished audience.
This Christmas, know that God can use anyone to spread his message, even when you feel insignificant. God’s story cannot be silenced by those in this culture or this world. Christ is our King! He is Lord, and his power and glory will be proclaimed forevermore. Amen.
Do you believe that God can use your life to glorify his name? What is one way that you can proclaim his power and glory today?
Close your eyes, listen to your favorite version of “O Holy Night,” and really focus on the song lyrics.
For a more traditional version may I suggest this version: Celtic Trio and Choir deliver Magical version of O Holy Night or O Holy Night – Josh Groban
Heavenly Father, thank you that you can use anyone to spread your message of hope to the entire world. Thank you for assuring me that when the day comes for me to leave this world, I will see you face-to-face as my great deliverer. Give me courage to stand up for what is true, even when those around me are falling away. Help me not to be led astray. I proclaim your power and glory forevermore. Amen.
Family Advent Activity:
Family Connection – Use the following prompt to have some meaningful family conversations.
Just like Mary, God has special plans for your life. Do you get excited thinking about the good plans God has for you? Thank him for all He has planned.
Pray – “God, thank you for making me special and for the special plans you have for my life and for our family. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
For more family fun, check out the monthly advent calendar full of seasonal activities.
This post was written by Julie Mabus. Julie has a passion for thinking about big ideas, art, reading, and seeing God reveal himself through creation. She is married and is homeschooling her five young children.
Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast
The LivingItOut Podcast is released every Wednesday morning. It discusses key takeaways and principles from the weekend message. Listen to the weekly podcast in your car, during your lunch break, or any other time that works for you. You can find the latest podcast here.
Leave a Comment?
We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.
Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?
We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!