by BCBP Editor

By Nancy R. Catan, BCBP Manila

holy night
O Holy Night! This Christmas song has always been a favorite of mine. Every time I hear it, or sing it, my heart is touched by the soft loving whispers of angels. Can’t you just hear the angels singing, and see the stars dancing, and feel the faint stirrings of Life in the arms of Mary? To me, it is one of the most solemn and beautiful Christmas songs ever written, bringing us back to that holiest of all nights.

Yet, when this song was first composed by Adolphe Charles Adam, a 19th century Frenchman, it met with strong disapproval from church authorities. One French bishop even commented that it lacked musical taste and showed a total absence of “the spirit of religion”. Adam’s original title was “Cantique de Noel”; he wrote the music and his friend Cappeau de Roquemaure, a French poet, wrote the lyrics.

The words we sing today come from the pen of clergyman and music scholar John Sullivan Dwight. He called his English translation “O Holy Night”. And today, it is recognized as a most elegant and moving Christmas carol, with its words and music echoing in full “the spirit of religion”.

Usually only the first verse is sung. But I love the 2nd and 3rd verses that reflect the true spirit of Christmas, its joy, its sung proclamation that our King, our Savior, and our Lord is come to bring us love, peace, joy and freedom from the chains of oppression. I would like to share these verses with you. Sing them along with me.

2nd Verse:
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 came the wise men from the Orient land.
The King of Kings lay in a 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! Your King! Before him bend!

3rd Verse:
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! Then ever, ever praise we;
His power and glory evermore proclaim!
His power and glory evermore proclaim!

Jun, my husband, and I warmly extend to you and your loved ones our sincere wishes for a joyful, blessed and glorious Christmas, and a fruitful and prosperous New Year 2014!

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1 comment

Get Smart December 23, 2013 - 8:23 pm

i’m sorry i do not agree with the article, in the first place nowhere in any of the verses is there a connection to being slain in the spirit and worship! i would love a better explanation of the verses. a light from heaven blinded paul, in that time it must have been an intense shock to see something so blindingly bright, he would fall but didnt lose consiousness, neither did john, nowhere do i see this, in the book of john the people drawing back was from fear as was paul, and many demons Jesus encountered on his travels. the falling to one’s face is not as we think it to be by loss of ability to stand or being paralised, it was an act whereby those who did it went face down on their hands and knees in worship and respect, as one would bow before a king etc. i cant make the connection you do to the verses, and i know we cant place Father God in a box either by saying he will or wont, i just cant see it in the bible and that is what we should measure everything to. please help me understand this.


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