O Holy Night!

December 9, 2010

“O holy night” is based on a French carol, “Minuit, Chretiens” written by Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure in 1847 and the music was composed by Adolphe Adam. This Christmas song was translated to English by John Sullivan  Dwight. http://www.christmas-songs.org/songs/o_holy_night.html

This is another of my very favorite songs of the Christmas.  Mannheim Steamroller does it with strings in such a manner as to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up whenever I hear it.  It is a song that is at once both Peaceful and glorious at the same time.  It begins as almost a lullaby, but builds to a magnificent crescendo  at the end of each stanza.   It seems that even lyrically this happens.  Rarely does a song translate form one language to another and still hold its original beauty.  In a post civil war America, this one actually grows in power.  (Note verse three, especially, although I don’t know if the words to that verse actually appear in the original French carol )

I love how the first verse gently takes us from a glance at the starry sky, to a glimpse of a fallen world, then the opportunity to gaze into the face of the Savior.

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 wise men 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!

The final three lines are a glorious affirmation of our faith.  And as we proclaim His power and glory, we can experience His peace.   Noël, Noël, voici le Rédempteur!

Here is a great “bonus story”  I read today concerning this song.  I got it from, http://www.findthepower.com/ChristmasPagesTheStoryOfOHolyNight.htm

In 1906, Reginald Fessenden–a 33-year-old university professor and former chief chemist for Thomas Edison–did something long thought impossible. Using a new type of generator, Fessenden spoke into a microphone and, for the first time in history, a man’s voice was broadcast over the airwaves: “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed,” he began in a clear, strong voice, hoping he was reaching across the distances he supposed he would.

Shocked radio operators on ships and astonished wireless owners at newspapers sat slack-jawed as their normal, coded impulses, heard over tiny speakers, were interrupted by a professor reading from the gospel of Luke. To the few who caught this broadcast, it must have seemed like a miracle–hearing a voice somehow transmitted to those far away. Some might have believed they were hearing the voice of an angel.

Fessenden was probably unaware of the sensation he was causing on ships and in offices; he couldn’t have known that men and women were rushing to their wireless units to catch this Christmas Eve miracle. After finishing his recitation of the birth of Christ, Fessenden picked up his violin and played “O Holy Night,” the first song ever sent through the air via radio waves. When the carol ended, so did the broadcast–but not before music had found a new medium that would take it around the world.

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2 Responses to “O Holy Night!”

  1. charlie said

    here’s my version of “O Holy Night” I just recorded. I’m offering it as a free download. Let me know what you think & Enjoy your holidays.
    Twitter: @CharlieWMusic

    http://Facebook.com/CharlieWilliamsMusic
    http://www.youtube.com/user/CharlieWilliamsMusic

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