Celine Dion Sings Oh Holy Night

Oh Holy Night seems like the perfect carol to post on Christmas Eve (at least it is Christmas eve here in Seattle). Many blessings to all of you as we remember the birth of our saviour

Someone also just sent me this history of Oh Holy Night written by richard Rohr.

In 1847, a parish priest in France asked a simple wine merchant in his church if he would compose a poem for the Christmas Mass. He wrote the words to the music that became O Holy Night and will be sung with great solemnity and emotion in many halls and churches throughout the world tonight. It deserves to be.

I offer this song because of one truly inspired line. It says that when God came among us in the shape and form of Jesus, suddenly “the soul felt its worth!” Yes, that is it! We cannot mirror ourselves; we all must be mirrored by another. When God mirrored us through the entrance, invitation, and eyes of Jesus, the certainty of our redemption was once and for all given and accomplished. In Franciscan eyes, we needed no further blood sacrifice to reveal God’s intentions toward us. We were already saved by the gaze from the manger.

The poet goes on to sing further of “a thrill of hope” and a “new and glorious morn.” Again, well said, as poets and musicians so often do! I am sure much of the conscious or unconscious sentiment of this feast is that tonight and tomorrow, on some wonderful level, the soul finally and forever does feel its worth!

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!

O Holy Night, words: Placide Cappeau, 1847
(Minuit, chrétiens, c’est l’heure solennelle);
English singing rendition by John Sullivan Dwight (1812-1893).
Music: Adolphe C. Adam (1803-1856).

~ Richard Rohr, December 2011

O Come All Ye Faithful by Liberia

Here is a beautiful rendition of another of my favourite Christmas carols:

Libera performing O Come All Ye Faithful on Christmas Cooks which aired 25 December 2007.

It Came Upon the Midnight Clear

I am sitting here at our dining room table looking out on a cold crisp Seattle morning.  The Olympics are covered with snow, the sun ois shining and I have a pot of soup cooking on the stove.  What more could one ask for on a beautiful winter’s day like this.

For some reason the beautiful morning reminded me of the Christmas carol It Came Upon the Midnight Clear

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold;
“Peace on the earth, good will to men,
From Heaven’s all gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.

Here are a couple of You Tube renditions of the carol that give very different but equally moving images –

one of ancient images from the life of Christ,played by Leigh Nash and Sixpence None Richer

the other with modern images taken from Grey’s Anatomy.

To be honest, maybe because I am a doctor by training, I found the images from Grey’s anatomy far more compelling.  Anyway both of these videos really gave me a sense of the Advent of Christ this morning