O Holy Night

‘O Holy Night’ had its origins in the mid-1800s in France. But the song stirred a lot of controversy in the church, to the point where it was banned. When asked to pen a poem for his parish’s Mass that Christmas, composer Placide Cappeau thought about the birth of Jesus, as cataloged in the Gospel of Luke, as he wrote the lyrics. He enlisted the help of his Jewish friend Adolphe Charles Adams to aid in the composition of the music. The song was initially titled, “Cantique de Noel.” Although the church in France initially accepted the carol, Cappeau was later swayed by socialist propaganda and walked away from his faith. The church in France condemned the work due to this. Nevertheless, the lyrics and music made its ways to America through abolitionist John Sullivan Dwight. Thanks to Dwight and the covert efforts of the lyrics being sung during Christmas in Europe, the song’s notoriety spread worldwide, rumoured to have been even sung on Christmas Eve during the Franco-Prussian War1. Here is a beautiful choral version I think you’ll enjoy 🙂

O 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 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 angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here came the Wise Men from Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our Friend.
He knows our need— to 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 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.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His name forever!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!


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