2020-02-26 to 28 Pictures: Charleston, South Carolina

One of the few upsides of having to cancel our Spring Break trip last March at the onset of the pandemic is that we are "stuck" with a rather large voucher from one of those discount airlines. Last autumn, Tricia and I spent a weekend in Savannah, Georgia and had a...

A John 3:16 Craft for Kids

John 3:16 is one of the most well known and reassuring verses in the Bible. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16 (NIV) The following is a little craft I threw...

2020-03-01 Pictures: Lyndsey’s College Signing Day

This afternoon Lyndsey made it official, signing her letter of intent to play college basketball for the Hiram College Terriers starting next year. While she made the decision and committed to Hiram before Christmas, she has been looking forward to this day since her...

2020-02-13 Pictures: Lyndsey’s 18th Birthday

I am little behind on posting photos. These are some of my favorites from a couple of weekends ago when we got a chance to celebrate Lyndsey's 18th birthday. It's hard to believe that my little girl is officially an adult. It was nice to have the family all back...


Introduction I love working with kids, and I love teaching them hard concepts in ways they can understand. To that end, for years I have been working on a dictionary of theological terms for kids and teens. In sharing those definitions, there seemed no better place to...

If You Want It Done Right

In all likelihood, you know how the phrase ends: If you want it done right, DO IT YOURSELF! This is a bit of a mantra for me, and frankly, something that I struggle with daily both in leadership and in my Christian walk.  In theory, this is easy to accept. ...

What Does God Hate?

This is the little and humble post that started it all. I happened to be reading through my Bible, and this passage impacted me so much that I posted a little blurb about it on Facebook. That was July 28, 2008, and I've been writing and sharing ever since. (Maybe...

December 23 – O Holy Night (A Christmas Carol Advent)





“O Holy Night” was originally a French carol (“Cantique De Noel”) was penned as a poem in 1847 by Placide de Roguemaure based on his interpretation of what it would have been like to be present at the birth of Christ based on the account in the Gospel of Luke.  The music was composed by Adolphe-Charles Adam.  It

Commentary & Analysis

The first verse of this famous Christmas Carol capture the state of the world prior to the birth of Christ (“Long lay a world in sin and error pining”) and at the birth of Christ (“for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”)  I am always struck in the first verse of this song by the juxtaposition of the thrill of hope and a weary world.  We live in a world tainted by sin that does not work the way God created it to work.  We live in a world that, for the most part, rejects its creator.  We live in a world of natural disasters, terrorist attacks, lie, cheating, stealing, death, tears, anguish and indescribable pain.  I think weary captures the tenor of this world and those of us who live in it.  We are worn out by the grind, by the pain, by the longing for something better.  In a lonely manger, in a small town, without human fanfare, a small child was born.  That child, Jesus, was the Son of God sent to absolve us of our sin by his death on the cross.  That child was, and is, the hope of the world.  The only appropriate response we can offer to the gift of a savior is to fall on our knees in worship and adoration – it was a holy night indeed!

The second verse of this song recounts some of the details of Jesus’ birth which we have addressed in a number of song throughout this month, but it also reminds us that God knows what we need.  He knows our weaknesses and we need not hide them from him.  Indeed, the Bible reminds us that he makes us strong through our weaknesses.  He is, and should be, the source of our strength!

Finally, the third verse reminds us of a fundamental truth of the Bible – God is love (1 John 4:8).  God is love, and God is the source of all love.  God’s law is love – love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength (Mark 12:30).  As God loved us by send Jesus as our savior, all call this time of year, and throughout the year, is to love God and love others as God loved us!

Questions for further Reflection / Devotion

The following questions are meant for your reflection and or devotion.  Feel free to meditate on them, discuss them with your family or others or post your responses here.  I would love to hear from you.

  1. Who, in your family, does not know the love of Christ?  How can you go about sharing Christ’s love with them this season in a very tangible way?
  2. What weaknesses do you have in your Christian walk?  Do you try to hide those weaknesses from people or do you try to be transparent?  What is something you can do to work through those weaknesses for God’s Glory?
  3. What makes you weary?  How can you find strength in Jesus in that weakness?
  4. The second verse tells us to “Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!”  Take some time today to actually get on your knees before God and pray.  Tell him what’s on your mind, praise him for all he’s done, and tell him was you need.  Remember, God knows what we need, so telling him about it is more about you than him.  Meditate on how to cast your cares upon Jesus this Christmas season.
  5. Holy means set apart.  What tradition can you and your family start this year to preserve the Holy nature of Christmas?


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 Spirit 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, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O holy night, O night divine!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O’er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

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,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

Return to a Christmas Carol Advent index page.