I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me. – Job 19:25 NIV
“O Holy Night” had its beginning as “Minuit, Chretiens” (“Midnight, Christians”), a poem written in 1843 by Frenchman Placide Cappeau. Another Frenchman, Adolphe Adam, set it to music in 1847. An American, John Sullivan Dwight, a former Unitarian minister, translated “Minuit, Chretiens” into English in 1855, and “O Holy Night” was born. It became a favorite Christmastime song, with recordings reaching number one on the Billboard Charts twice. What makes this 178-year-old poem set to music so popular, enduring, and endearing? Sure, the melody is catchy, sure the visual picture it conjures is appealing – the birth of a baby. It’s more than that, though, isn’t it? Its themes of hope, peace, joy, and love resonate with audiences everywhere. We desperately need more of those attributes in our lives, in our dealings with one another.
As we listen to the words of the song, we realize Cappeau and Dwight were not sharing an image of a perpetual infant. They were portraying a baby who grew up; they were showing us the characteristics of a God-man who lived a remarkable human and divine life. He brought a new kind of peace and joy and love to the world. The hope that lay in that manger was God’s answer to the millions of prayers: “When, O Lord, when?” “Now!” echoed over that Judean hillside that holy night. “Now!! Your Savior has come! Rejoice!”
He entered earth to reverse Adam’s fall!
He appeared and the soul felt its worth!
In His name all oppression shall cease!
He taught us to love one another.
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
He laid aside His glory and in our place, was sacrificed for our sin.
Because of Him – The thrill of hope the weary world rejoices. What’s our response to this personification of hope? The songwriter told us.
Fall on your knees! Hear the angels’ voices!
Fall on your knees! Hear the gospel story!
Fall on your knees! Receive the Gift of heaven!
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Praise His name forever!
Thank you, Father, for the hope we have in your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.