“Fall on your knees; O hear the Angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born
O night, O Holy night, O night divine!”
“How is it that the words of Christmas songs are just so incredibly meaningful?” my oldest daughter asked me yesterday. They really are, aren’t they? This is no doubt the reason that I feel Holy Spirit nudging me to base my Christmas devos this year on this theme. Each day leading up until Christmas, then, I will share with you a few thoughts about one of these exquisite songs.
Today I begin with one of my very favorites (although there are so many that I absolutely relish!). “O Holy Night.” How this melody stirs my heart with wonder, every time I hear it! Words fail to say just how much so. It truly captures the essence of the majestic wonder of Christmas so masterfully.
This weekend I was thinking about the man who wrote it. I was pondering about how he was a real person with struggles, doubts, and joys, just like you and I have in this life. In the midst of them all, what an encounter with God he must have had, for such magnificent verbal artistry to come out of him! To be more specific, we are actually talking about three human artists here (aside from the Divine one who inspired the three 😉). These are the three that He used to bring us this masterpiece:
1) Placide Cappeau, who wrote it as a French poem in 1843
2) Adolphe Adam, who put it to breathtaking music shortly thereafter
3) John Sullivan Dwight, who masterfully translated it into English in 1855
God shows no favoritism. As He encountered those three men of the 19th century, breathing such glorious revelation of His advent into their spirits… so He will encounter you and me today. At Christmastime, God comes near in such a unique, intimate way. Starting immediately, let’s make space this month for the awe of His coming.
As I often tell my son, if we don’t plan for it, it won’t happen. Let’s intentionally plan for spaces of quiet time to allow for these encounters with Him. Even today, let’s look at the calendar for December and make aggressive decisions necessary for creating this space. I am convinced that there is a special anointing on the Christmas season to encounter His love in ways that we haven’t before… if we will carve out the time for it. This Advent, let’s make room to fall on our knees and let the wonder of this Holy Night overcome our souls once again.
“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them…” (Luke 2:8-9, NKJV).
As I will endeavor to keep these Christmas devos short, I will no doubt need more than one of them to adequately cover a hymn as rich as “O Holy Night.” More on this tomorrow!
Do you have a favorite Christmas carol? If so, what makes it your favorite?