To me, this is the perfect Christmas Carol. It encompasses all that we ought to be truly celebrating. It is so beautiful to me that even after all these years, I still get misty eyed when I hear it sung without embellishment.
“O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.”
These lines set the scene. The mood is set with the music. This song is about worship. It is the telling of something majestic and transcendent.
“Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth. “
Here we are reminded of the meaning of this event. The world was fallen, and the only way to God was through blood shed, a few times a year. But God so loved us, he purchased us at the highest price to bridge that gap forever.
“A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”
Hope. Hope is one of the most powerful emotions we have. Hope is precious now, but it was even more so before Christ. You lived, you died, and the most that you could hope for in-between was a minimum of suffering. People were not even certain of an afterlife. And then came Christ. That whisper of Hope, ever so small, came into being; there was more to life! Our God was reaching out to us after 500 years! And eternal life with him was our promise.
“Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!”
Kneeling is an act of submission. You are lowering yourself and giving up your ability to defend yourself. You kneel before a King. You kneel in worship to a God. And falling to your knees is being desperate to surrender. And I am forced to examine my own prayer life here. How often to I kneel before my God and King?
And what a song the Angelic host must have sung! It is no mystery to me either why he chose humble shepherds for this one of a kind show. God has a soft spot for these solitary people. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were all shepherds. Moses was a shepherd. So was his beloved David. A shepherd dedicates his life to the care and protection of beasts that are truly helpless and stupid. This is a trade of humility and compassion. And Jesus referred to himself as The Good Shepherd in order to illustrate his purpose. A Divine night indeed. I can only imagine.