O Holy Night! (…and other things that bless me)

This week in church we sang a few Christmas carols in our worship set– which has never really blessed me quite as much as it did this morning. Apart from “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” (easily my favorite), I’ve never really found one that actually inspired me to really worship God. That is, until this Sunday.

See, I’ve always enjoyed the lofty lyrics and complicated melody of the traditional hymn “O Holy Night” (Adolphe/Adam), but I’d never heard it the way we sang it this Sunday in church, with the alternative second and third verses by Kevin Hartnett (2007).

“Humbly He lay, Creator come as creature,
Born on the floor of a hay-scattered stall.
True Son of God, yet bearing human feature
He entered earth to reverse Adam’s fall
In towering grace, He laid aside His glory,
And in our place, was sacrificed for sin.

Fall on your knees, O hear the Gospel story!
O night, divine! O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

Come then to Him who lies within the manger
With joyful shepherds, proclaim Him as Lord.
Let not the Promised Son remain a stranger;
In reverent worship, make Christ your Adored.
Eternal life is theirs who will receive Him;
With grace and peace, their lives He will adorn.

Fall on your knees! Receive the Gift of Heaven!
O night, divine! O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!”

If anyone knows where I can find a recording of this, I’d happily knit them something warm and fuzzy.

I’m also still plugging along in “Because He Loves Me” by Elyse Fitzpatrick, which continues to prove itself a constant means of God’s grace in my life. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you take advantage of any holiday specials you may find online today and buy yourself a Christmas present. Here’s what I read this morning that I hope will edify and bless you as much as it’s edified and blessed me.

“What does living a life of gospelized obedience look like? Is it a drudgery? Is it a grinding code of conduct that punctiliously slogs through every miniscule action joylessly, meanly flogging oneself for every misstep in behavior? Is it pinching, censorious, small, dark? No, of course not. It’s a life that’s best understood by looking at our Savior’s life. His life was a life of love and it was filled with service to sinful people. He joyously celebrated at parties, provided food for those who were about to turn their backs on Him, hung around with thieves and prostitutes, turned water into wine. He allowed the tears of a sinful woman to wash His feet; He sat down in a crowd and spoke the truth in love. He overturned the tables (and lives) of those who sought to sell righteousness; He calmed storms and the fears of His followers, He walked up Calvary’s hill. His life was marked by one conspicuous trait: love. Because He has laid down His life, because His life is coursing through us by the Spirit, we can have hope that as He was in this world, so are we. (1 Jn 4:17) Because of His life, death, resurrection, and ascension, we can wholeheartedly pursue gospelized obedience. The sins that so easliy beset us, the proud self-serving that colors all we do, can be warred against by the love that He has placed within us. War it is, yes; but it is a glorious, confident, courageous war. It’s a war of love, and we already know the outcome.” 

and also:

“Remember, real progress in the Christian life is not gauged by our knowledge of Scripture, our church attendance, time in prayer, or even our witnessing (although it isn’t less than these things). Maturity in the Christian life is measured by only one test: how much closer to His character have we become? The result of the Spirit’s work is not more and more activity. No, the results of His work are seen in our quality of life; they are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Gal 5:22-23) It is life like His. In order to grow in Christlikeness, we’ve got to intentionally apply the Gospel to everything we are and everything we long to do. We’re not to sever our obedience from His perfect sinlessness nor disconnect our mortal life from His resurrected life. We’ve got to understand ourselves in the light of our new identity, seeing ourselves as we truly are: sinful and flawed, loved and welcomed. Only these Gospel realities have enough power to engender faith, kill idolatry, produce character change, and motivate faithful obedience.” 

Thank you, Jesus, for all that you’ve done and all that you are doing. Your unending steadfast love and faithfulness are astounding.

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One thought on “O Holy Night! (…and other things that bless me)

  1. Hi Katie. I stumbled onto your blog and encouraging comments about my lyrics to O Holy Night just now. I’m glad the Lord used them to bless you. I’m unaware of any recordings of them. The worship folks here at Covenant Life used verse #2 during a Christmas drama a number of years ago. It was sung from memory by a soloist, who goofed the words :)

    If you haven’t heard them, you might enjoy some of the Original Songs on Ken Boer’s website: http://www.heartandvoice.com/original-songs-2/
    Ken and I colaborated on a number of children’s songs- me writing lyrics and Ken writing the music.

    If you click on the Demo EP by Ken and his wife, Rachael, you can find another set of lyrics I wrote for the song called He Is Jesus. A young man named Kevin Schellhase wrote the melody and I crafted lyrics to it. It’s arrangement is a bit boring at first, but gets better when Ken and Rachael harmonize together. Ken is on the keyboard; Rachael on the violin. It’s a beautiful melody and I like the words :) I hope it gets done congregationally and recorded some time too.

    May the grace and love of God inspire you to great acts of devotion to Him and service to others in the coming year. Many blessings. …Kevin H.

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