Placide Cappeau, 1808-1877
Translated from French to English by John S. Dwight (1813-1893)

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Matthew 1:21

As we arrive upon the day we traditionally set aside to celebrate the birth of our Saviour, it seems fitting that we include this beautiful hymn. The beauty of the hymns of the nativity is that they so often portray the deeper truths of the blessed night Mary brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and lay Him in a manger.

The story is told of a child walking around a church's live nativity scene with his parents. The lad was very quiet...and frowning. His mother, as they were about to leave, drew her little one aside and asked what was troubling him. "He's still a baby! Isn't he ever going to grow up?" Oh, yes! The tiny, holy Babe of Bethlehem was born to redeem whosoever believeth in Him! He did not stay a baby. In fact, by the time the wise men arrived from where they saw His star in the east, the Bible tells us He was a young child in a house! (Matthew 2).

He shall save His people from their sins, Joseph was told by an angel in his dream (Matthew 1). Jesus was not just another Jewish child born in one of many Jewish towns. His birth was miraculous, foretold in specific detail throughout the Old Testament. His Father was God, His mother was a virgin. He was of the lineage of David--not only through His adoptive stepfather Joseph, but through Mary. He was born in Bethlehem. The very words of Isaiah "For unto us a child is born" were spoken by the angel of the Lord, announcing the birth to shepherds: "For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."

This birth was of the sinless Saviour, born to die on Calvary's cross. This was God's divine plan from the beginning. Only a sinless sacrifice could atone for sin. The sacrifice of bulls and goats was an Old Testament picture of this perfect, promised, God-provided Sacrifice that was to come!

"O Holy Night" uses words throughout that grip the heart. "Long lay the world in sin and error pining...." "A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices"! "Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother"! "In His name all oppression shall cease"! When we come to know Jesus as our own personal Saviour from sin, we no longer are enslaved to sin! This is the glorious news that dwells in the heart of every believer...news that brings "a thrill of hope" in this "weary world".

"O Holy Night" is said to have been the first music ever broadcast over radio. How marvelous that those radio waves carried praise to Emmanuel--God with us!

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 soul 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!

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!

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!

*For Today*: Isaiah 30:29; Luke 2:8-11; Revelation 4:8.

Choose this Christmas Day to proclaim the gospel--the freedom from slavery to sin that JESUS' miraculous birth and death, burial, and glorious resurrection brings to the life and heart of the believer!


Return to Hymn Devotionals Index

Caleb's Country Corner *_*

The Christian Counter