Saturday, December 24, 2016

#411, in which the weary world rejoices

As I mentioned yesterday, my favorite Christmas song is "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel," but "O Holy Night" felt like the most appropriate song to write about for Christmas Eve. That might be because I have an association with this song and the Christmas Eve sequence in Home Alone, but I like to think it's because the song is so much about the night He was born.

Like "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel," much of this song is about not just the night of His birth, but about the years and ages leading to that moment. "Long lay the world in sin and error pining," we sing, and it could be as much about the night He came as it could be about the time of Isaiah, or Noah. The world was in thrall to sin and corruption, and there was no way for us to get out until our Savior came. And so we waited, and we waited, hoping for the moment to arrive when He came and "the soul felt its worth." You can think of that in terms of our soul feeling relief at redemption, but I think we could also feel our soul's worth knowing that this Child would be the one to take upon Him all of our sins and infirmities. We know how those feel, and knowing that someone else will take them gives you a clear sense of exactly how much they weigh.

And then a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices. We are so worn down by our inadequacies and our inability to even cleanse our own sins, let alone anyone else's, and then to have that announcement come, to see the star, to hear the heralds, to see the Magi, causes us to have a fleeting moment of joy cut through the darkness of doubt and fear making us think we can do this.

So we sing our praises to Him in the chorus. Fall on your knees, praise His name forever, and behold your King, we shout. We go from dark despair that we can't escape to the brightness of midday all at once. If that's not worthy of joy, then what is?
Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.
Merry Christmas, friends. Make it a joyous one.

Previously in this series

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Still, Still, Still

The Friendly Beasts

What Child is This?

Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming

Coventry Carol

The Holly and the Ivy

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Wexford Carol

I Saw Three Ships

We Three Kings

Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella

In the Bleak Midwinter

Little Drummer Boy

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