Advent Devotional: “O Holy Night” - Gordon Conwell

Advent Devotional: “O Holy Night”

Dr. Jana Holiday

So much of what has happened this year has led us to grasp for escape—from oppression, from fear, even from our homes. We yearn for freedom and, in the words of this hymn, a “new and glorious morn.”  As we scan the night horizon for hints of light, we are tempted to dwell on the desolation we feel, rather than the holiness that we are promised. The night is holy because our Holy God is on the move. He invites us to a posture of faith which, unexpectedly, is accompanied by “a thrill of hope.” This doesn’t belong in our normal categories of a thrill: a roller coaster, a near miss, or an extravagant gift—it’s the bigger picture of God’s redemptive workings, of which this past year is a small part. This is the hope which does not disappoint, even as weariness settles on our hearts and minds.

December 25th is my favorite day of the year.  Without fail I wake up before my family, and as I putter around making coffee and lighting the fire (trying to not-so-subtly rouse them), invariably the sunrise gives me pause with a simple message: a new and glorious morn has broken through the night.  Friends, we are weary. Yet, let us sing to ourselves the hopefulness wrapped up both in the baby born in Bethlehem as well as the end of God’s redemptive workings.

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.

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 raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.

Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
O night divine, O night, O night divine.

Listen to this rendition:

Boyce Avenue – Acoustic

Jana Holiday is Dean of Students at Gordon-Conwell. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.