O Holy Night

It seems like every year there is a Christmas song ~ that I’ve sung for ages ~ that touches my heart and my mind in a new way.  You know, in that sort of, “how have I never noticed this before?” kinda way.


Well this year, that song is O Holy Night.  And I think the reason I noticed something new about it this year, is that I’m studying Romans in Bible Study, and one of the lines of the song taught me something new.


As I’ve shared a couple of times already recently, Romans is largely about our inability to obey the law, which makes God’s grace necessary for our salvation.  You can’t earn eternal life.  You just can’t.  You aren’t capable.  But it can be gifted to you, simply by virtue of your faith in Him.  How’s that for a deal?  Better than anything you bought on Black Friday, but funny thing ~ the gift of eternal life came to us on a different sort of Black Friday…


Anyhow, the line that caught my ear was, “His law is love and His gospel is peace.”  Particularly, “His law is love.”  I realized that as I study Romans, I’ve been thinking about our inability to obey the Ten Commandments.  That line in the song made me think of what Jesus said are the two greatest commandments, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.”  His law is love.  And nevermind the Ten Commandments; we can’t even successfully obey those two!


So that’s how I ended up reading more about the song, and studying its history.  And I wanted to share without another something interesting, and that’s the lyrics.  It was originally written as a poem, so lyrics changed a little over the years, when it was put to music.  So although the version we all know and love is beautiful, so are some of the other lyrics that have been used over its history.  You can find the full history on the internet of course, but here are some of the words with which you are probably not familiar…

Midnight, Christians, it is the solemn hour,

When God as man descended unto us

To erase the stain of original sin

And to end the wrath of His Father.

The entire world thrills with hope

On this night that gives it a Saviour.

People kneel down, wait for your deliverance.

Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer…


May the ardent light of our Faith

Guide us all to the cradle of the infant,

As in ancient times a brilliant star

Guided the Oriental kings there.

The King of Kings was born in a humble manger;

O mighty ones of today, proud of your greatness,

It is to your pride that God preaches.

Bow your heads before the Redeemer! …


The Redeemer has broken every bond:

The Earth is free, and Heaven is open.

He sees a brother where there was only a slave,

Love unites those that iron had chained.

Who will tell Him of our gratitude,

For all of us He is born, He suffers and dies.

People stand up! Sing of your deliverance,

Christmas, Christmas, sing of the Redeemer


My favorite part is the transition from, “People kneel down…” to “Bow your heads…” to “People stand up!”  That’s what it’s all about ~ from the realization that we need a Savior, to the joy we have in sharing in His victory over death.  That’s what was just beginning to come to fruition, on that Holy Night.



~ “For there is born to you…

a Savior,

who is Christ the Lord.” ~

Luke 2:11


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