December 24.  “On that Night”

“She will give birth to a Son and will name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”  Matthew 1:21

One of our most sacred and popular Christmas Hymns began as a poem by Placide Cappeau in 1843 (composed to music by Adolphe Adam, and then translated to English by John Sullivan Dwight in 1855).  History describes Cappeau as a non-religious person who was very surprised when the parish priest asked him to author a poem for Christmas mass.  One evening, considering the priest’s request, Cappeau used the Gospel of Luke and imagined what it would have been like had he been present at the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.  From this encounter with the story of Christ’s birth, the words were penned; the words became a song, and today we are blessed with the powerful and beautiful hymn, O Holy Night.      

How amazing that the Christmas story of the Bible so impacted the heart of a wine commissionaire in a small village in France that his written response became a timeless song for the ages.  The backstory of this great Christmas hymn begs the question, “have you had a moment this Christmas season to quieten your heart and take in the full impact of the night Jesus was born?”  Today, on Christmas Eve, will you take a moment to personally consider that Holy night? 

On that night, Heaven (through the angel’s announcement and through Joseph and Mary’s obedience) named the Messiah Jesus (Matthew 1:21).  Salvation!  Deliverance!  He is the Savior, Christ the Lord.  God in human form came under the name Jesus to heal the brokenness caused by sin.  

On that night, under the blanket of a dark sky, the swaddling clothes cuddled this tiny little babe: His small hands beginning to unfold to embrace his mother’s finger, his eye lids slowly separating as his eyes focused, his legs stretching, and the gentle and soft whimper of an infant’s hunger echoing through the chamber of their temporary dwelling.  This little One!  The majestic One!  The only One!  Jesus.  The Savior of the world.       

On that night, “Jesus did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself… and was made in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:7)  He came to us. 

Today, take a moment to quieten your heart and consider the night Christ was born.  This is the holy night.  This is the birth of our Savior.  This is Christmas. 

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