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HYMN 279 O Holy Night, plus....

Luke 2:1-14

Text: Placide Capeau (1808-1877) Tune: Adolphe Adam (1803-1856)

Adoration of the Shepherds Gerrit van Honthorst 1622

1. 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!

2. 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!

3. 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! His pow'r and glory evermore proclaim! Tr. John Sullivan Dwight

MEDITATION Merry Christmas! I cannot think of Christmas Eve without remembering the story "The Holy Night" by Selma Lagerlöf from her Christ Legends. My mother often read it aloud to gatherings around Christmas time and it was a magical time. It starts out slow, but builds toward a moving finish, showing how the love of God in the birth of Jesus changes every thing we do or see. Enjoy. it takes about fifteen minutes.

A reading of The Holy Night, the first story in Lagerlöf's Christ's Legends

What follows is a potpourri of hymns I have chosen for this day. Some of you will be too busy to even think of listening to them. Some of you are all alone and may enjoy listening to these favorites. The countries I chose are those which have been connected with this blog in some way. Whatever situation you find yourself in, I hope you can find comfort and joy in the good news of Christmas. It was all done for you and me so we might have the abundant life forever. It is Jesus’ gift to us every day. Relish it! Remember, there are myriads of angels hovering around you with good news. Look in the manger and see. Merry Christmas!

St. Joseph Cooks a Meal for Mary Conrad von Soest 1403


O Holy Night is almost universal now. It is sung in many languages. It describes the night of the birth of Jesus as beautifully as any carol. It is probably better as a solo than congregational song, but we all know much of it by heart. It was written by Placide Capeau to celebrate the restoration of the organ in Roquemaure France. Shortly thereafter Adolphe Adam wrote the music. It was translated and reworked by the American Unitarian pastor John Sullivan Dwight in 1855. The third stanza especially appealed to the Abolitionists in the US.

Adoration of the Shepherds Adolf Holzel 1912



African American

Children Go where I send you—this is a classic, especially by the Fairfield Four

The Fairfield Four


It Came Upon the Midnight Clear/Chanticleer


Silent Night—Mass choir outside in Austria


Christ was born on Christmas Day


‘Twas in the Moon of Wintertime/French Canadian

People now think this is more French than Native, but it uses the imagery of the Canadian First Nation people


The Virgin Mary had a Baby Boy


Holy Night/Sheng Yi Qing Text by Weiyu Zhu; music by Qigui Shi

Thanks to Charlotte Gronseth


Deilig er Jorden—this is the tune for Beautiful Savior but not the text See HYMN


O Come All Ye Faithful--all the pomp you need


I do not seek for might or pomp/En etsi valtaa, Iostoa/Text Topelius/Tune: Sibelius


Il est né, le divin Enfant/He is born the divine Child/in Notre Dame Cathedral before the fire


Vom Himmel Hoch/From Heaven Above/Martin Luther’s great Christmas hymn, children can dramatize the story as they sing


Nóttin var sú ágæt ein—a lullaby for Jesus, the favorite Icelandic Christmas Carol,

The hymn starts with a historic overview of the birth that has „best healed the wounds of the spirit“, the shepherds being the first to hear the good tidings of the birth of God´s Son and obeyed the angel´s command and went to Betlehem and found the „God and man, laid in the lowly manger.“ The 5th stanza is the Gloria: „Praise and glory in the high heavens we sing with the angels without ceasing, peace on earth and reconciliation, that we all humans should rejoice.“ Subsequently we are urged to go to do as the shepherds and go to Bethlehem. Bethlehem is the church, the sanctuary is the manger and Jesus comes himself in His Word .Then the poet urges us to take the baby Jesus up from the manger and keep him in our arms. The arms are Faith, repentance and love, the blanket that grants the faithful protection and blessing of the Jesus child who is Immanuel.

thanks to Bishop Emeritus Karl Sigurbjørnsson


Once in Royal David’s City—by the writer of All Things Bright and Beautiful and the traditional opening song of the Nine Lessons and Carols


Sambasamba Zanahary

Thanks to Jean Larsen

New Zealand

Upside Down Christmas—Murray’s hymn protesting the northern imagery of Christmas carols has become quite popular


I am so Glad Each Christmas Eve/ Oslo Gospel Choir


Infant lowly—this has become very popular around the world


Alice Tegner’s Christmas hymn that is almost obligatory in Sweden

Gläns över sjö och strand

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