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O Holy Night

December 12, 2011

O Holy Night is one of my favorite songs, not just Christmas songs, but of all musical content anywhere I think it is the best song on the planet.   The song doesn’t have an amazing story behind its writing like an Isaac Watts song does!   It was written by a French liquor salesman named Placide Cappeau who happened to be a poet as well, he called it “Minuit, chrétiens” (Midnight, Christians).  It was put to tune in the mid 1840s by a man named Adolphe Adam he called it “Cantique de Noël”.  The song’s birth doesn’t have a flair that others do, but the redeeming feature is not in the birth of the song, but in how it was used in the US after it’s English translation became available.  John Sullivan Dwight translated the song into English in 1855, intending on using it for anti-slavery propaganda, hence the translation “Chains shall he break for the slave is our brother, and in His name all oppression shall cease”.  This song was suddenly useful in helping rid the US of the scourge of slavery.

The song has undergone revisions in order to sing it in English, but the original was written in French, the translation of that is as follows:

Midnight, Christians, it is the solemn hour,
When God-man descended to us
To erase the stain of original sin
And to end the wrath of His Father.
The entire world thrills with hope
On this night that gives it a Savior.
People kneel down, wait for your deliverance.
Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer,
Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer!
May the ardent light of our Faith
Guide us all to the cradle of the infant,
As in ancient times a brilliant star
Guided the Oriental kings there.
The King of Kings was born in a humble manger;
O mighty ones of today, proud of your greatness,
It is to your pride that God preaches.
Bow your heads before the Redeemer!
Bow your heads before the Redeemer!
The Redeemer has overcome every obstacle:
The Earth is free, and Heaven is open.
He sees a brother where there was only a slave,
Love unites those that iron had chained.
Who will tell Him of our gratitude,
For all of us He is born, He suffers and dies.
People stand up! Sing of your deliverance,
Christmas, Christmas, sing of the Redeemer,
Christmas, Christmas, sing of the Redeemer!

Intense words from a liquor salesman!  Like the birth of this song, not all of us have intense stories of how we became Christians, mine isn’t a life of drugs to Jesus, my story isn’t like that, but I hope and pray I can be made useful for the Glory of the King and His purposes here on earth.

Lead with Love,

Dave

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