O Holy Night is my favorite Christmas carol perhaps because it has quite a strong justice message in it. You know this verse:
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 us, Let all within us praise His holy name.
Here is the direct translation from the original French version:
The Redeemer has overcome every obstacle: The Earth is free and Heaven is open. He sees a brother where there was only a slave, Love unites those that iron had chained. Who will tell Him of our gratitude, For all of us He is born, He suffers and dies.
Jesus came to live and die for the redemption of ALL and setting all slaves – our brothers and sisters – free. Please allow the words of this hymn resonate with you today, the season, and throughout the year.
With those thoughts, we move on into our daily lives, which we all much do. One of the disciplines that I’ve been working on is what will be the background to my days? Will it be the grace and hope of O Holy Night, or will it be other messages that our world would give us? Despite the central theme of this season, it can be difficult to rest in the grace it gives us.
In Asia, the Christmas season – oh and there is definitely a commercial Christmas season here – doesn’t even have the benefit of starting with the Christian celebration of Christ’s incarnation. I’m in Phnom Penh this week and the tinsel is also everywhere here! I would not be surprised to see a monk with a Santa hat (but I haven’t). There are indeed opportunities to share the the true story of Christmas as one has opportunities to talk with friends and strangers curious about this Western holiday that is so bright and cheery and full of glam and tinsel.
Maintaining an ‘O Holy Night’ background to your days helps you be in tune with these sometimes not-so-straightforward opportunities to share.
Rejoicing with you,