Receiving the Light • Devotion #4: “O Holy Night”

“O Holy Night” was composed by French poet Placide Cappeau in 1843. Twelve years later in Boston, John Sullivan Dwight (well-known classical music critic) changed some of the lyrics slightly as he translated this carol from French into English.

O Holy Night

The stars are brightly shining

It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth

Long lay the world in sin and e’er pining

‘Til 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 angels voices.

O night divine O night when Christ was born

O night divine, O night, O night divine.

He goes on to talk about the light of faith, the cradle, wise men, and the King of Kings before singing the next stanza.

He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,

Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!

Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!

The rest of this carol speaks about loving one another, His law of love, His Gospel, peace, and that Christ is Lord. The parts that stand out to me the most are “fall on your knees” and “Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!”

It reminds me of an all-time favorite worship song by MercyMe, “I Can Only Imagine.”

Surrounded by Your glory

What will my heart feel

Will I dance for You, Jesus

Or in awe of you be still

Will I stand in your presence

Or to my knees will I fall

Will I sing hallelujah

Will I be able to speak at all

I can only imagine

I can only imagine hey ya ah

It is safe to say that dancing will not be my first choice. I think we will all fall to our knees in the presence of Jesus. Actually, Philippians 2:9-11 says that both believer and unbeliever we fall to their knees, “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Romans 14:10-12 adds, “Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.”

We have a choice. First, we can bow to Jesus today, see Him at the Bema Seat (we will bow again) where He gives us potential rewards and places us in Heaven forever. Second, we can deny Him or ignore Him, meet Him at the Great White Throne Judgment, bow before Him (but it is too late), have our works evaluated (all fall short of the glory of God), and end up in Hell and the Lake of Fire forever.

Fall on your knees

O hear the angels voices.

O night divine

O night when Christ was born

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