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  • Mary Lynn Tolar

O Holy Night

 

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

 ‘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 angel voices

 O night divine

 O night when Christ was born

 O night divine

 O night, O night divine

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

 With all within let’s praise His holy name

Christ is the Lord!

 His name forever praise we

Noel, Noel

 O night, O night divine

 Noel, Noel

 O night, O Holy night



Merry Christmas! Every year, the story of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is retold millions of times around the world. It is an awe-inspiring and awkward story that must be heard with ears of faith to really be understood. As children, we enjoy moving the animal figures of the manger scene around the holy baby, with mother, Mary, and Joseph overlooking nearby. An angel flies above the manger to direct the excited shepherds, and very wise men travel from the east to bring gifts to the holy Child. Practically, we ask, “Why does a pregnant lady, the mother of Messiah, need to travel so far to have no available room that she must birth the Son of God in a smelly cave? Why were lowly shepherds in a nearby field the first to hear the announcement from a host of Heavenly messengers filling the sky and glorifying God? How did a brilliant star lead wonder-seekers to find the newborn King?” We reflect on it by faith, the only way one can find Jesus, our Savior. Spiritually, we realize that God the Father has set up impossibly surprising circumstances that fulfill all the foretelling prophecies of this Redeemer’s life! Once again, take a few moments to marvel at the story recounted in Luke Chapter 2 and feel the hush of Peace at Jesus’ birth.  


Christ Born of Mary

“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.


Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.


Glory in the Highest

Now, there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”


And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 


“Glory to God in the highest,

 And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”


So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them. 


Circumcision of Jesus

 And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.


Jesus Presented in the Temple

Now, when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the LORD”), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”


Simeon Sees God’s Salvation

And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So, he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:


“Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,

 According to Your word;

 For my eyes have seen Your salvation

 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,  


A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,

And the glory of Your people Israel.”


And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”


Anna Bears Witness to the Redeemer

Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming in that instant, she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.


The Family Returns to Nazareth

So, when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.





[As adapted from The Bondage Breaker and Stomping Out The Darkness by Dr. Neil Anderson and Dr. Dave Park.]


“Note: “O Holy Night” is a sacred song for Christmas performance. Originally based on a French-language poem by poet Placide Cappeau, written in 1843, with the first line “Minuit, Chrétien, c’est l’heure solennelle” that composer Adolphe Adam set to music in 1847. The English version is by John Sullivan Dwight. Wikipedia “

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