A Holy Night

My favorite Christmas hymn is O Holy Night. Every time I hear the words “fall on your knees” I get a chill and find myself singing along with the angel voices. O Holy Night, “also known as “Cantique de Noël”) is a well-known Christmas carol composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem “Minuit, Chrétiens” (Midnight, Christians) by poet Placide Cappeau (1808–1877). The carol reflects on the birth of Jesus as humanity’s redemption” (Wikipedia).

Most versions use only the first verse, which is the most well-known. As it’s in the public domain and you may not be familiar with the second and third verses, I’m sharing it with you here and hope you can find a version you like to listen to. I’m partial to Josh Groban and Michael Crawford, who both sing the first and third verses. I also enjoy listening to Nat King Cole and Andy Williams.

Merry Christmas to you and thanks for reading my blog.

O 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,
‘til He appeared 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; O hear the Angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born.
O night, O Holy night, O 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.
He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger.
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend;
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend.

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.
Christ is the Lord; O praise His name forever!
His power and glory evermore proclaim;
His power and glory evermore proclaim.

Good news, not fake news

Fake news has been around since folks started telling people what’s going on in the next town. They either got it mixed up (remember playing the telephone game where the message became garbled as it went around?) or they did it on purpose for their own gain. Today, with the proliferation of blogs and websites, and everyone’s need to give an opinion, you have to take much of what you read on the Internet with a grain of salt.

The same is true about the misinformation surrounding Jesus. Ever since he started his ministry, and continuing to this day, the stories about who he is have been garbled, ranging to slightly in error to egregiously wrong. The good news of his birth and the reason he became a human has been distorted to the point most people have no clue about him.

The fake news is that God took his anger out on Jesus, because, after all, someone had to pay. Many believe God is still angry and just a hair’s breadth away from squashing us like bugs. But the truth looks much different. God’s plan of redemption had nothing to do with his anger. It was and is all about his love. Jesus not only brought good news, he is the good news: through his life, death and resurrection, he revealed the Father to us and just how much he loves us. Because he is Emmanuel, God with us in every sense, the story of his redeeming love is the best news humanity will ever hear.

God sent the redeemer

“‘The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem to buy back those in Israel who have turned from their sins,’ says the Lord” (Isaiah 59:20, NLT).

Coupons

Today most of us think of coupons when we think of redemption. You go to the store, turn in a coupon and receive a discount or free item. But when Israel was in captivity, redemption meant much more—being bought back from slavery. For them, redemption was their ticket out from under a strict government and harsh living conditions. It’s hard to relate, especially for those of us in western countries, but even so, many find themselves slaves to other things, including addictions, health, financial or family problems.

When Isaiah predicted the arrival of a Redeemer, people got excited. They remembered how he had led them out of Egypt with the pillar of cloud by day and the fire by night so they knew they could trust him to deliver them again, finally and for good. Many expected the Redeemer to come with a huge army to defeat the Roman government, but instead, he was born in a barn and slept in a feed trough. By living a perfect life from conception to adulthood, Jesus redeemed all of human life and all of humanity, buying us back from slavery to sin and death and restoring a right relationship with our Creator.