O Holy Night

December 22, 2010

“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 2:10-11

Every Christmas Eve service, the members of our church are blessed to hear our Worship Pastor sing “O Holy Night.” This has become such a tradition at our church that the thought of a Christmas Eve service without it is, well, hard to imagine!

Here are some interesting tidbits:
• On Christmas Eve in 1906, Reginald Fessenden, broadcast the first radio program, where he played “O Holy Night” on the violin. Therefore, the carol is the first piece of music to be broadcast on radio.
• “O Holy Night” (“Cantique de Noël”) was set to music by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the lyrics of a French poem written by Placide Cappeau, a wine merchant and poet. Cappeau had been asked to write a Christmas poem by a parish priest.
• And here is something I’ve never been able to figure out. Since “O Holy Night” was composed in French, why does the English translation rhyme?

The music is so overpowering in its beauty that we sometimes fail to notice the perfection of the lyrics. Read these lyrics, a magnificent poem, and contemplate the wonder and blessing of the birth of Jesus.

Oh holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our 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 world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees!
Oh, hear the angels’ voices!
Oh night divine, Oh night when Christ was born;
Oh night divine, Oh night, Oh night Divine.

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