O Holy Night is the UK’s favourite carol! (BBC Songs of Praise Vote 2020)
Here are some of the things we love about it.
‘A thrill of hope’ are my favourite words from this song. I get a visceral sense of shivering with anticipation and excitement as ‘the weary world’ finally welcomed the peace and joy it was waiting for! I particularly like the version of the song by Tommee Profitt (feat Tauren Wells & SVRCINA).
I love the powerful hope captured in the simple words ‘chains He shall break’. Christmas, Jesus coming to earth, is so much more then presents; it’s about breaking chains! Jesus came to break you free from the things that hold you captive. What a glorious truth to celebrate at Christmas!
‘The weary world’ really resonates with me as we all feel the struggles of life and look for help; I think that’s why the superhero genre is so popular at the moment. The night Jesus was born was incredible news for the whole world, and the music for this song seems to fit the building excitement and expectation so well.
Fun Fact #1
It was originally written in 1847 by a French poet named Placide Cappeau.
The line ‘fall on your knees’ is one of my favourites: it produces such beautiful musical harmonies, but it also reminds me of the identity of this baby in the manger. Jesus was born 2000 years ago in a place 3000 miles away from here, but it matters to me because he is God almighty, who came to Earth that people might know Him.
For me, the very first words ‘O holy night’ help to cut through the ‘noise of life’ to the heart of Christmas. That night when Jesus was born was holy: completely and radically different from all other nights. God himself was born on Earth, come to reveal himself to us, and to offer us true life and salvation from sin.
Fun Fact #2
It’s argued to have been the very first live song played on the radio. In 1906, Reginald Fessende played his violin and sang along as he broadcast one of the first ever AM radio programs.
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
Till He appeared 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
Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains He shall 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
This is a lovely version of the carol, sung by Tommee Profitt (feat Tauren Wells & SVRCINA):