“O Holy Night” ~ the gospel story

O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

His power and glory ever more proclaim!

My favorite Christmas hymn, “O Holy Night.”  This song stills my holiday pace as I listen to the words that bring me joy and hope and a future promise.  This Christmas hymn directs my attention and helps me to focus on the true meaning of my life with Christ and in Christ.  The song is the gospel message.

Are you weary?  Do you feel alone and as if life is a trial and your journey confronts you with cliffs and chasms?  Sometimes there may be days that seem insurmountable and impossible and you wonder can I go on?  How do I do this?  How will I climb this cliff or travel that valley?  I have no energy left and I have no idea or direction in how to proceed . . .

Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

“Long lay the world in sin and error pining.”  Sin is defined as missing the mark.  Our earthly father, Adam, did indeed miss the mark by choosing to disregard God’s one restriction, to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  (Gen. 2:15-17)  But the fruit was more than Adam could resist and by missing the mark in partaking of this fruit, Adam’s sin resulted in all of mankind being separated from God (Is. 64:7), the world was left to endure in darkness and  painful suffering. (Ro.  8:20-22)

But Christ appeared!  A renewed hope came to the weary world and the curse of Adam was redeemed by the gift of the coming of this babe.  (Ro. 5:17)  Yes, dawn broke into a new and glorious morn for all of mankind!  The curse of sin was broken and though all of us inherit Adam’s nature, we need not be a slave to this sinful nature, we have a saving grace through the redemption that came by this baby, Christ Jesus.  (Ro. 3:22-24)

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.

“His law is love and His gospel is peace.”  Christ was born and at the end of His earthly ministry He spoke saying, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”  (Jn. 15:12-13)  But not only did He command this, He exemplified this by the laying down of His life through death on a cross (I Jn. 3:16); He did this because He loved us and through His death He reconciled us to God (Ro. 5:10-11).

And because of Christ reconciling us to God, we have peace.  We have a perfect, eternal peace (Jn. 14:27, 16:33).  A peace that  transcends all our human understanding.  (Phil. 4:7)

Now each Christmas season I am reminded of a time in which I had no peace; I was scared and afraid.  You would think after having a rare cancer and surviving an aggressive treatment and being cancer free that I would have a joy that knew no bounds, grateful and living life to the full.  But I found myself fearful and unsure and sinking into a deep depression.

I felt alone in my suffering.  I know about trials and I know about cliffs and chasms.  I know about insurmountable and impossible and I know what it feels like to wonder if I could go on.  I had no energy left and I had no idea or direction; I was a lost soul.

Three years ago . . . I remember so well.  We were at church and the pastor asked a man in the congregation to come forward to sing “O Holy Night” accompanied by the piano.  The sanctuary was darkened, he began to play.  Listening to the song I loved so much, the words to the hymn broke the dam to the reservoir that held my unknown, frightened self.  As a torrent of tears ran down my cheeks I cried for what I thought could never be again, a carefree life.  God heard my cry and wiped my tears.  And the words brought a hope that was lost to me.

The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,

“He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger.”  This King knew my weakness.  This King who is called “King of kings” (I Tim. 6:15) knows our weakness and He knows our trials.  For He, Himself shared in our same weakness (Heb.  5:2) and our same trials (I Pet. 4:12-13); He came to earth just as you and I did and in His humanity He empathizes with us and remains compassionate to our frailties.  That Sunday morn, Christ knew my frailties and in His empathetic compassion He renewed my hope and gave me a direction and helped me to scale my insurmountable cliff.

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!

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

A Merry and Blessed Christmas to you!

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2 comments on ““O Holy Night” ~ the gospel story

  1. peaceforthejourney says:

    Thanking God for the melodies and words of Christmas that break through our pain and speak deeply to our hearts! We do have a Christ who knows us and loves us still. His ministering grace rains down onto parched soil and refreshes my heart. I pray God’s presence is evident to you as you make these final steps of 2012!

    Keep making room in your heart for the Savior.

    Blessings and peace~elaine

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