Green Room

The stars are brightly shining…

posted at 2:40 pm on December 25, 2012 by

Long lay the world in sin and error pining, ’til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.

The Gospel, in one beautiful sentence. I put it right up there with John 3:16 as elegant, economical expressions of an entire religion go. Whether you’re a believer or just a fan of good writing, it’s a line for the ages.

A thrill of hope
The weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks
A new and glorious morn!

“O Holy Night” went through several iterations before it became the hymn as we know it. French poet (and wine merchant) Placide Cappeau wrote the first version, “Minuit, chrétiens,” which was put to the music of French composer Adolphe Adam in 1847. The literal English translation looks nothing like “O Holy Night,” but it was later loosely translated and interpreted by Boston Unitarian minister John Sullivan Dwight. It was first published in English in 1855, along with another French hymn, “Angels We Have Heard on High.”

From the Christmas Music Companion Fact Book, we learn it was not well-received in its first outing:

Adam’s composition was first performed in the 1847 Christmas Eve midnight mass in the church of Roquemaure, France. Church authorities frowned on the song, and one French bishop denounced it for its “lack of musical taste and total absence of the spirit of religion.”

I beg to differ. So, we have two talented Frenchmen and one of our early fellow countrymen to thank for bringing us this breathtaking song.

Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine, oh night, oh night divine

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Yes, great stuff.
Even better when you’re singing along with Josh Groban’s awesome version.

itsnotaboutme on December 25, 2012 at 3:25 PM

I’ve been waiting for a post from Mrs Morrissey.
Will there be one?

countrybumpkin on December 25, 2012 at 4:51 PM

I love that song.

Cindy Munford on December 25, 2012 at 5:11 PM

So beautiful, so “economical”. These Christmas carols- so many of them, this one included, are such a wonderful Blessing; a civilizational treasure.

Merry Christmas, folks.

aquaviva on December 25, 2012 at 10:03 PM

My daddy’s favorite Christmas carol…and probably mine, too. Thanks for this lovely post and Merry Christmas.

pannw on December 26, 2012 at 12:59 AM

My favorite Christmas carol. Brings tears to my eyes every time.

Thanks, MKH!!!!

Besides that, my favorite classical Christmas music is the Nutcracker suite, and my favorite jazz Christmas song is “The Merriest.”

UltimateBob on December 26, 2012 at 1:21 AM

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall 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 our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

29Victor on December 26, 2012 at 3:05 AM

^ verse 3

29Victor on December 26, 2012 at 3:06 AM

Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine, oh night, oh night divine

Long ago, my mother was beyond embarrassed when one of her children had tripped up on stage during our church’s production of the Christmas Story. All six of her kids were in the play as various angels and shepherds and her oldest daughter was Mary. Her middle son had inexplicably tipped over during the beautiful “Oh Holy Night.”

Afterwards, she was happy to see that it didn’t seem to bother my brother one bit that he had disturbed that lovely carol with his big “clunk” noise. In fact, he looked rather pleased with himself.

“Did you see that?” he exclaimedm running up to her. “I was the only one who fell to my knees, like the song said to do!”

That is the literal wonder of a child at Christmas.

Fallon on December 26, 2012 at 9:12 AM

Fallon on December 26, 2012 at 9:12 AM


pannw on December 26, 2012 at 11:45 AM

I thought this was about a Depeche Mode, song…my bad.

JFKY on December 26, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Yes, great stuff.
Even better when you’re singing along with Josh Groban’s awesome version.

itsnotaboutme on December 25, 2012 at 3:25 PM

O Holy Night is one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs. In fact, I used Josh Groban’s version for a little animation I made recently(On that site it is more like directing than animating-my drawing isn’t that great). Please check it out if you’d like: O Holy Night
I couldn’t use the whole song unfortunately because I was limited to two minutes.

Sterling Holobyte on December 26, 2012 at 3:15 PM

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