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
‘Til He returned and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
This is possibly one of the most well-loved Christmas carols, sung by just about every artist that puts out a Christmas album and by almost every church choir or soloist. But do we ever ask ourselves what it means? This carol we know as O Holy Night was originally a poem called Cantique de Noel, the first six lines of which are translated (according to Wikipedia) as following:
Midnight, Christians, it is the solemn hour,
When God-man descended to us
To erase the stain of original sin
And to end the wrath of His Father.
The entire world thrills with hope
On this night that gives it a Saviour.
This is what Christmas is all about – the “God-man descend[ing] to us.” God Himself has taken the form of Man for the purpose of erasing “the stain of original sin,” therefore ending, once and for all, “the wrath of His Father” – the wrath that we as sinners justly deserve. Jesus, was born over 2,000 years ago so that we may come to know the Father, rather than being separated from Him because of our sins. He is the only way to God, and in this Christmas season, we not only celebrate His birth, but the promise that when we believe in Him and His saving work on the cross, we get to spend eternity with our Father. As the original translation says:
People kneel down, wait for your deliverance.
Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer,
Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer!