The O Holy Night lyrics make this song one of our favorite Christmas carols. It’s not the music that gets us, however; the words truly capture our hearts! Here’s why…
O Holy Night Lyrics: A Thrill of Hope! The Weary World Rejoices
Christmas is a time of anticipation. Advent calendars, church liturgical readings, and lectionaries are all designed to whet our spiritual appetites for the coming of our Savior. The first stanza of O Holy Night lyrics does the same thing. It paints a picture of a deep, starry night. The darkness of the night calls us to the same expectation of the coming dawn that the Psalmist expressed:
My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning.
~ Psalm 130:6
Like the first rays of the rising sun, a thrill of hope strikes the world – Jesus has arrived! In the middle of the weariness of a night watchman, the world rejoices to see its Savior come.
O Holy Night Lyrics: Led by the Light of Faith Serenely Beaming
The second stanza of O Holy Night lyrics describes the sweet simplicity of the manger scene (Luke 2) to us. I think that the songwriter is putting us in the shoes of the shepherds who first stood by the cradle before the wise men arrived. They saw the bright light of glory around the angels and followed the signs to the manger by faith.
There were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them. … The angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
And the shepherds went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.
~ Luke 2:8-16
The wise men from from the east followed the light of the star by faith as well. Like the shepherds, their hearts glowed as they saw the sweet humility of the King of Kings. The most wonderful part of Jesus’ humility is not that it gives us an example of humility (which it does – Phil 2:5-8), but that it proves that he understands our need and weakness.
For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
~ Hebrews 2:18
O Holy Night Lyrics: Truly He Taught Us to Love One Another
When Jesus came to earth, he brought light and joy to a dark, weary world. By coming in humility, he showed us that he understands our trials. When we truly grasp those realities, that affects how we live. The advent of Jesus brought salvation to the weary and weak. That salvation empowers us to love one another. As Jesus himself taught during his life on earth:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
~ Matthew 22:37-39
When we love one another, when we remember that “the slave is our brother,” when we work to make oppression cease, when we raise sweet hymns of joy in chorus, then it can truly be said of us:
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
~ Isaiah 52:7
As we rejoice in the satisfied longings of Jesus’ advent this year, let’s live out his law of love and share his gospel of peace!
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