Introduction to “O Holy Night”

Date November 30, 2009 Posted by Roger Overton

For much of December I’ll be posting a devotional commentary series through the song “O Holy Night.” It’s one of those traditional “Christmas” songs that I play all year round because it’s about so much more than a mere holiday. Almost every line of the song has something to do with the gospel. So I’ve broken up the three verses of the song into a twelve post series, making this post the first of thirteen. They’ll be posted every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday ending with Christmas.20080820_nightsky_wc_corr_1000x374ss_sh2-150_wc

The original “O Holy Night” was composed in French in 1847 by Adolphe Adam. He used the words from a French poem called “Minuit, chrétiens” (Midnight, Christians) by Placide Cappeau. It was translated into English 1855 and in 1906 became the first piece of music known to be broadcast on the radio.

Wikipedia lists two English versions on the carol, along with the original French and a more direct translation. I’ll be going through the first version since this is the one I’m most familiar with. Here’s the blog schedule:

Nov 30 (M)- Introduction to O Holy Night
Dec 2 (W)- The Stars Are Brightly Shining
Dec 4 (F)- Long Lay the World in Sin
Dec 7 (M)- Yonder Breaks A New and Glorious Morn
Dec 9 (W)- Fall On Your Knees!
Dec 11 (F)- Led By the Light of Faith
Dec 14 (M)- Here Come the Wise Men
Dec 16 (W)- Born To Be Our Friend
Dec 18 (F)- Behold Your King!
Dec 21 (M)- His Law Is Love
Dec 23 (W)- The Slave Is Our Brother
Dec 24 (Th)- Let All Within Us Praise His Holy Name
Dec 25 (F)- Christ Is the Lord!

Lastly, I thought it would be good to link to some of the performances of the song that are available. Interestingly, I couldn’t find anyone who sings the second verse.  Some only sing the first verse and repeat it.  Some change the last lines and simply sing noel. What strikes me is that many of the performers are not Christians (to my knowledge), yet they are proclaiming the good news. I wonder if any of them have given serious thought to the words they sing.

Seven Day Jesus ***my favorite rendition

Third Day

Celine Dion

Josh Groban

David Phelps

Nsync (acapella)

Mariah Carey

Luciano Pavarotti

Carrie Underwood

Kelly Clarkson

UPDATE: A commenter over at Evangel, Sam, provided a link to a version by Harry Connick Jr. that includes all three verses of the song:

Related posts:

  1. O Holy Night (11) – Let All Within Us Praise His Holy Name
  2. O Holy Night (10) – The Slave Is Our Brother
  3. O Holy Night (4) – Fall On Your Knees!
  4. O Holy Night (1): The Stars Are Brightly Shining
  5. O Holy Night (9) – His Law Is Love
  6. O Holy Night (7)- Born To Be Our Friend

11 Responses to “Introduction to “O Holy Night””

  1. David N said:

    The first one is OK, but I’ve always thought this song sounds much better when a woman sings it.

    I really like this version by Celtic Woman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZ-8jYpa1-o&feature=related

    -

  2. O Holy Night (1): The Stars Are Brightly Shining | The A-Team Blog said:

    [...] This is the first part in a twelve part devotional commentary on “O Holy Night.” See the introduction here. [...]

  3. O Holy Night (9) – His Law Is Love | The A-Team Blog said:

    [...] This is the ninth part in a twelve part devotional commentary on “O Holy Night.” See the introduction here. [...]

  4. Product Review: The Most Fabulous Christmas Album Ever « A Little Bit of All of It said:

    [...] The old stuff is the good stuff as far as I’m concerned. My favorite carols are “O Holy Night“, “Carol of the Bells” and “O Come Emmanuel“. However, if I’m [...]

  5. O Holy Night (10) – The Slave Is Our Brother | The A-Team Blog said:

    [...] This is the tenth part in a twelve part devotional commentary on “O Holy Night.” See the introduction here. [...]

  6. O Holy Night (9) – His Law Is Love » Evangel | A First Things Blog said:

    [...] This is the ninth part in a twelve part devotional commentary on “O Holy Night.” See the introduction here. [...]

  7. O Holy Night (10) – The Slave Is Our Brother » Evangel | A First Things Blog said:

    [...] This is the tenth part in a twelve part devotional commentary on “O Holy Night.” See the introduction here. [...]

  8. O Holy Night (11) - Let All Within Us Praise His Holy Name | The A-Team Blog said:

    [...] This is the eleventh part in a twelve part devotional commentary on “O Holy Night.” See the introduction here. [...]

  9. O Holy Night (11) – Let All Within Us Praise His Holy Name » Evangel | A First Things Blog said:

    [...] This is the eleventh part in a twelve part devotional commentary on “O Holy Night.” See the introduction here. [...]

  10. O Holy Night (12) - Christ Is the Lord! | The A-Team Blog said:

    [...] This is the final post in a twelve part devotional commentary on “O Holy Night.” See the introduction here. [...]

  11. O Holy Night (12) – Christ Is the Lord! » Evangel | A First Things Blog said:

    [...] This is the final post in a twelve part devotional commentary on “O Holy Night.” See the introduction here. [...]

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