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The Weary World Rejoices

O Holy Night

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 angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine…

The carol was composed in 1847 by Adolphe Adam with the words from a French poem by Placide Cappeau. We sing an English version rather loosely translated from the original: “O holy night” replaced “Midnight Christians”, and “Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices! O night divine, O night when Christ was born” replaces “People on your knees, await your deliverance. Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer”.

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices”. Our world is wearier than usual, added by Covid weariness: social distancing, face masks, foggy glasses, one way shopping aisles, line-ups, isolation, and the restrictions. The thrill of hope is needed now as much as ever, not hope in a vaccine but Christian hope in the eternal life offered by our Saviour Jesus: an offer of a new and glorious morn. Oh that the weary would fall on their knees.

“You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.” (Augustine). Jesus said, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

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If you appreciated the art of the Old Masters from past centuries you’ll enjoy the paintings selected for an Advent collection at https://www.kellybagdanov.com/2017/11/27/advent-in-art-an-introduction/. A broader range of art with Advent devotions is at https://thevcs.org/Advent2020. Combine these with the Biola University ones shown on 1st December and you’ve a wealth of artistic thought to explore. The top image here is Adoration of the Shepherds by Caravaggio.

(Martin Vernon)