I was asked what my favorite song for Christmas was. I had to pause and think; with so many to select from and different versions, I would have to think about it. I decided I would do a little research about the music and songs of Christmas we all sing and have enjoyed for many years. My first one is O’ Holy Night.

The lyrics to the song are at the end of the post, but I wanted to dig into the history of how the song developed over the years. “O Holy Night" (original title: Cantique de Noël) is a well-known Christmas carol. Originally based on a French-language poem by poet Placide Cappeau, written in 1843, with the first line "Minuit, Chrétien, c'est l'heure solennelle"(Midnight, Christian, is the solemn hour) that composer Adolphe Adam set to music in 1847. The English version (with small changes to the initial melody) is by John Sullivan Dwight. The carol reflects on the birth of Jesus as humanity's redemption.” -Wikipedia

“Cantique de Noel” became popular in France and was sung in many Christmas services. But when Placide Cappeau completely left the church to join a socialist movement, and it was discovered that Adolphe Adams was a Jew, the French Catholic church leaders decided to go “Cantique de Noel” was unfit for church services because of its lack of musical taste and “total absence of the spirit of religion.” But even though the church no longer allowed the song in their services, the French people continued to sing it. There is so much more to the story behind the song.

In the song the verses: 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

O’Holly Night

In France, some people thought it meant a call to take up arms to revolt; in America, to some, it reminded them of the Civil War and acts of Slavery, and then to others, over history, acts of courage to step out to stop the war. Reading about how the song's music and lyrics impacted generations over the years is worth looking at for understanding.

My thoughts on the song as I reflect on the impact it has on my life and what I know it will have on those who hear it with open eyes, hearts, minds, and ears are this:

Our world is not perfect; it has never been and never will be. Christmas is the birth of Christ , and we fall to our knees.

We learn from our past, look to our future and rejoice in peace. There is no need to dwell in days from the past, as today, all wrongs will cease.

The gift of life was provided to me; it is up to me to choose and to do. I am thankful and grateful for all of the trials and storms I went through.

Make today better than yesterday; it is you with the choice to make. Why must we point the finger and continue to blame and ask to take?

I genuinely believe we can all love one another; if we know all of the stories of others, we could discover…..

Our world is better when we all work together.

O Holy Night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth!
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 soul rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night divine

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here come the wise men from Orient land
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friend

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

"I only have 2 rules!"
© 2024 Brenda Yoho
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