2013-12-12 - O Holy Night
|This is one of the most beloved carols around the world.
The lyrics were written in France by Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure. He was
asked by the local Priest to create a new poem for Christmas mass. He used
the book of Luke as a framework for the poem. The author was inspired to
make the poem into a hymn and raced to Paris to find Adolphe Adam who was
a composer of ballets and orchestra works. Adam was Jewish and the presented
theme was unfamiliar because he didn't celebrate Christmas. He went to work
and succeeded in framing the words in a beautiful hymn in three weeks time.
The new composition was performed at midnight mass on Christmas eve.
The first verse is the most familiar. There is a gap in time from the end of the Old Testament to the birth if Christ of about 400 years. When Jesus clears the Temple of the shops and money changers it is clear that the purpose of the outer court to be a place of prayer had been lost to the business of providing what would be approved for sacrifices with the leadership taking a portion of the profits. True worship had been tainted, even crippled.
The promise long ago foretold and handed to Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth and Zacharias came to pass. A virgin conceived and gave birth to Immanuel. The angels announced His birth to shepherds - not to kings, priests or officials. These men were terrified until the angel calmed them saying,
Luke 2:10-12 But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
They left immediately to find the child and found Him just as they were told they would and worshiped Him. They amazed Mary and Joseph with their story. Verse 19 tells us that Mary treasured these things in her heart as she considered them.
Understand that God is no longer distant. The Lord of creation has come down to live with humanity wrapped in our frail flesh, knowing our trials, pain and joys. At the same time the heart of the Father will be presented again without traditions and trappings. The victory this time will free Israel and the world pining under the power of sin and death since the fall.
Mary was right. These are very worthy things to ponder as we approach Christmas, and to keep in our hearts all year long.
To be continued.
Lord Jesus - open our eyes and hearts again to the power and wonder of your work to come and fill the plan to free us for Your glory. Amen.
|O Holy Night
by Placide Cappeau & Adolphe Adam in 1847
O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
Truly He taught us to love one another,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.