Merry Christmas to All!

My desire is to wish you all a blessed Christmas. Sometimes I get so concerned with being politically correct and inclusive that my own faith gets watered down. I love Christmas music, sometimes the songs become so familiar that we don’t think about the lyrics. But as months of semi-isolation look like they may end with hopes of a vaccination the words “a thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn” seem more hopeful than ever.

I was listening to the history of this song today on the radio and it was powerful; I wanted to share it with you. In 1847, a priest of a small French village asked a poet, Placide Cappeau, to write a poem for Christmas mass. Cappeau was known for his worldly lifestyle, not his faith, but nevertheless he agreed. He wrote a poem and liked it so much he asked a Jewish friend to write music to accompany the song. O Holy Night was performed for Christmas mass that year. Years later the church banned the beloved Christmas song because of who the author and composer were. The song was well loved, and people continued to sing it in their homes but not in the church.

On Christmas Eve in 1870 during an intense battle in the Franco-Prussian War a French soldier suddenly stood up in the muddy trenches without a weapon and began singing “O Holy Night” in English. The gun fire ceased and a German soldier immerged from his hideout and sang “From Heaven above to Earth I Came.” Both sides were so moved that they took turns singing beloved carols and a 24-hour cease fire occurred. Those soldiers had differences between them that were strong enough to risk their lives, yet they were able to set their differences aside to celebrate what they had in common, if only for a day.

In 1906 this hymn made history again. On Christmas Eve, Reginald Fessden was experimenting with combining the telegraph with a microphone. Instead of the dots and dashes of the Morse code they heard a mans voice reading out of the Bible the Christmas story from the book of Luke, he then picked up his violin and played O Holy Night. The very first song ever to be played over the air waves. May this song become richer for you this year as you are aware of some of its history.

O Holy Night
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and e’er pining
Til He appeared 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 O hear the angels voices.
O night divine O night when Crist was born
O night divine, O night, O 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 up,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever.
His power and glory evermore proclaim,
O night divine, O night, O night divine.

Merry Christmas!!!

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