Looking at a Holy Night

I guess I’ve always liked the Christmas song Oh Holy Night.  The music itself is beautiful.  Something about it just seems elegant.

For some reason this Christmas season the song seems to keep coming up, and I don’t mean just hearing it on the radio all the time.  It is like I am noticing it as if it is new.  I’ve realized that I’ve never really paid close attention to the lyrics.  I don’t know, call me crazy.  But I’m guessing that at least one other person has been hearing and singing this song all their life and never really paid attention either.  Maybe I’ve just been distracted by the beautiful sound of the music this whole time.

Regardless, as I reflect on the words, I’m loving the song even more.

The first verse summarizes the entire Old Testament: The world was consumed with sin, yet longing to be released from it at the same time.  Finally at the coming of Jesus as the Savior from sinfulness through His death and resurrection, humanity was able to understand it’s worth.  The deepest longing finally fulfilled is certainly cause for incredible rejoicing!

Then the last verse reflects on Jesus’ life and his focus while here on earth.  As we see in the Gospel of John, the last major message that He gave to his disciples was to love one another.  If they truly loved all people with genuine love, then everything else would fall into place.  The religious people of the time tended to be too focused on following all the rules just right, and doing what was expected of them, and making sure they looked good in front of everyone else.  In doing so, they missed out on the basic concepts behind the law, of loving God and loving people.

Hmmm…sounds kind of familiar, huh?  We certainly can fall into that same trap of following the rules of culture and tradition, doing what society around us expects us to do, and making sure we seem to have it all together in the presence of other people.  Some of these things are not even bad; they are good…but they are not best.  And they are often distracting us from Christ’s simple,  yet complex, summary of all the commands:  love one another as I have loved you.

So, take a look at the Oh Holy Night lyrics below and join with me and my reflections this Christmas.

Oh holy night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night divine

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

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