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O, Holy Night

December 16, 2010

I attended a Christmas concert yesterday afternoon, presented by the lovely Jama Bowen, compliments of the Scarritt Bennett Center. She sang a wonderful arrangement of Christmas songs including, “Sleep, Little Jesus Boy” and “Believe” from the Polar Express. She sang most of my favorite Christmas songs, which added to my enjoyment of the concert.

The concert concluded with the well-known hymn, “O, Holy Night”. I’ve sung this old hymn many, many times over my short lifetime, and have come to appreciate its familiarity and peaceful lyrics. This year, though, as Mrs. Bowen was so elegantly singing each verse, I all of a sudden heard words that I’ve never heard before. Let me rephrase. For the first time, I noticed two lines in the song that I previously failed to pay attention to.

In the third verse, we sing, “Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother. And in his name all oppression shall cease”.

This poem was originally written in 1847. The poet, Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure, recognized that slaves are actually are oppressed brothers. He writes telling us that in the name of Jesus, all oppression shall cease. Today, more than one-hundred years after this poem was written, and thousands of years following the life of Jesus, who is called the Christ, we are still living surrounded by slavery and oppression. How is this possible?

This is possible because for as long as humanity exists in our current state, oppression will continue.

As a participant in society, as a follower of who I choose to believe is THE CHRIST, my responsibility has always been and will always be to work towards breaking chains, ceasing oppression, and recognizing slaves as my brothers and sisters. I know that I cannot end this, that I’m only a stone in the ocean. I’m thrilled, however, to work hard at daily living out the words of the gospel and the words of this song. What a Holy Night, that Jesus was born to break our chains.

O Holy Night
Christmas Carol Lyrics

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.
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.
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!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O’er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
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,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

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.
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!

 

*I am using a new format to publish my blog. Please accept my advanced apologies for any technical errors, until I am able to work out the kinks of this program.

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