The Story Behind O Holy Night


O Holy Night was originally written by poet and author Placide Cappeau in 1843 southern France. The music for the song was composed by the prolific French composer and music critic, Adolphe Adam and in 1855 the song was translated from French to English by John Sullivan Dwight.

Near the end of 1843, a church organ in southern France was renovated. Even though Cappeau showed no interest in religion, he was asked by the parish priest to write a Christmas poem; which he did. Shortly thereafter, Adam wrote the music and the song was first performed in 1857.

O Holy Night is one of the most well-known Christmas carols reflecting on Jesus’ birth and the redemption of humanity.

Biblical Inspiration of “O Holy Night” Lyrics

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining, It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth.

“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” (Luke 2:8)

Long lay the world in sin and error pining. ’Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.

“And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.” (Genesis 3:17-18)

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” (Romans 8:19-21)

Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices! O night divine, O night when Christ was born; O night divine, O night, O night divine!

So that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11)

Truly He taught us to love one another, His law is love and His gospel is peace.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother. And in his name all oppression shall cease.

“No longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother–especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.” (Philemon 1:16)

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, With all our hearts we praise His holy name.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16)

O Holy night! The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
‘Til He appears 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, O Holy night, O night divine!

[Verse 2]
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; before Him lowly bend

[Verse 3]
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  3

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