Wednesday, December 23, 2020

An Anthem for 2020: O Holy Night

At the end of this year 2020, I imagine there are many things people want to forget.
  • Forget the pain, sickness, death, and hardship a year wrought with trouble brought every single one of us without exception.
  • Forget the anger with which we responded to people who didn't deserve it and weren't the root cause.
  • Forget the sadness we couldn't push away.
  • Forget the fear of each other that oppressed us with a pandemic sweeping across the world. Fear that kept us from gathering together and encouraging one another because what if we infected each other? Fear that was founded, on most occasions, but robbed us of the joy of community that is at the heart of humanity.
  • Forget the isolation of staying in our homes and not knowing when or if things would change.
And yet, as Christmas approaches, the lyrics to one of my favorite carols brings me to tears with their relevance to more than one social event we have faced this year.

"O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the 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, Oh hear the angel voices!
O night divine! O night when Christ was born.
O night, O holy night, O night divine...

He knows our need, To our weakness no stranger!
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend.
Behold your King! Your King! Before Him lowly bend.

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, then ever, ever praise we.
His pow'r and glory, evermore proclaim!
His pow'r and glory, evermore proclaim!

A song penned so many years ago yet so applicable to our year 2020. We are a "weary world." We long for a "new and glorious morn." May we "fall on our knees" as we realize our dependence on the God who saves us. He knows our needs, for He is no stranger to our weaknesses since Jesus came to earth and lived life as a man.

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:15-16).

"But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me" (2 Cor 12:9).

"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. for we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words" (Romans 8:26).

"Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:4-5).

May the words of this familiar carol settle more deeply in your soul this Christmas. 
May we encourage each other and love each other in meaningful ways from respectful physical distances that hopefully do not distance our hearts from one another.
May we look to Jesus as our Ultimate Gift - the only One we need to survive all the trials and tribulations of life.



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