Blog Caroling ~ O Holy Night was a Silent Night


O Holy Night is probably my favorite carol, followed closely by Silent Night, both for reasons pertaining to my family.

O Holy Night is the most beautiful carol I ever heard. . . . as my father sang it A cappella, in his clear, strong tenor voice.  Dad had been raised by his grandparents in Washington DC, and was a Choirboy at the “Church of the Presidents,” the historic Christ Church.  The boys would sing O Holy Night each Christmas Eve for the traditional Christmas Eve Service.

Early in their marriage, my father sang it for my mother, as the story goes, and she was awed by it.  So awed that she insisted he sing it when they were at a Christmas party one year.  The entire party chanted and clapped until he sang it.  It was years before he ever sang it again since he was not a public person.  When he did begin to sing it again, he would sing it for us every Christmas as we grew up and we loved it!  To this day I still get goosebumps when I hear this carol sung by a tenor with a clear and powerful voice.

The words to the carol are:

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Til He appear’d 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 come 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, Behold your King.
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 chorus 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.
His power and glory evermore proclaim.

The next carol, Silent Night, has particular meaning in my life, because it reminds me of the year my son was born.  He was born in December, and our Church had the tradition of a Living Nativity.  At the end of the Christmas Eve Service the entire congregation would walk out of the Church carrying lit candles and singing Silent Night.  As they walked out, they saw the re-creation of that first Christmas.  The family with the newest infant portrayed the Holy Family.   In 1963, we were that family.  Forty five years later, I cannot hear that carol without thinking of that special Christmas Eve.

The words to that carol are:

Silent night, holy night
All is calm all is bright
‘Round yon virgin Mother and Child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night,
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heav’nly hosts sing Alleluia;
Christ the Saviour is born
Christ the Saviour is born

Silent night, holy night,
Son of God, love’s pure light.
Radiant beams from Thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

Since caroling is not caroling without either of these magnificent carols, I hope our group will include these, just before the hot chocolate is served!


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