The Holiest of Nights

There’s a holy feeling in the air this time of year. Even regular radio stations play Christmas music that glorifies the birth of Christ. I find that amazing. The music of Christmas has always spoken to my soul. So it’s not surprising that recently, I decided to use a line from a favorite Christmas Carol as the focal point of a chalkboard wall in my kitchen. I thought it would be nice to say something besides, “Merry Christmas” for a change.

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I chose the line, “The Weary World Rejoices” from the classic hymn, “O Holy Night”. The way it looks on the wall, and sounds in my mind, as I read it throughout the day, makes me happy. But as the days wear on, the message has started to penetrate my soul.

First, we live in a weary world. People are weary in body and of soul. We were designed to need rest.

Merriam Webster’s Dictionary partly defines it this way:

“Weary: bored or annoyed by something because you have seen it, heard it, done it, etc., many times or for a long time.”

That’s just what the words in this song are saying. Sure, we can be physically weary, but I believe people can become spiritually weary as well. I’ve seen it in my life. When bad actions or sin become my pattern, they lose their enticement. It’s no longer enjoyable and people can actually become weary of the cycle of sin in their lives. The world, and mankind as a whole, while it lives under the curse of sin, is weary. We are weary of missing the mark. We are weary of never being good enough. We are weary of pain, sickness, financial burden, abuse, and so many more painful things in our lives. Humanity longs for the rest our souls desire, and it is found only in Christ.

Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

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When we embrace the hope offered through Christ, we won’t be weary anymore! Don’t you feel like resting right now?

The next word in this phrase of the song is,

“Rejoices!”

Have you ever had moments in life when you truly rejoiced? Have there been times that you were at your most weary, and the next moment, you were rejoicing? Maybe it was a new marriage, after waiting for a partner. How about a raise, or an unexpected check in the mail? Sometimes, when things seem darkest, joy is sneaking up behind us.

In my life, I have never rejoiced so much as in the moments after giving birth to my four children. Having had three natural births, I know the torment of physical pain. I remember feeling that there was no more to give. I thought there was no place left in my body that held one more bit of energy. I was almost ready to give up totally, and then, the baby came, and my weary soul rejoiced! I was refreshed at the sight of new life! There are no words to express the gratitude I felt to God as I held the precious gift of life, fresh from heaven, in my own arms. My pain was a thing of the past, and my soul rejoiced.

It’s as if I can actually see the young girl Mary, birthing the Christ Child. Can you smell fresh hay? I can see the world, waiting, weary and dark. Can you feel the desperation? Then, from a barn in Bethlehem, light bursts forth. Angels raise voices in song. The earth and all its residents no longer have to be weary. They no longer have to try. The Savior is born.

Rejoice!

The holiest of nights has already happened, and the reason for rejoicing is upon us! Christ was born! His holy life, the shedding of his blood, and His powerful resurrection,  are the only real reasons to rejoice. That’s why we decorate, and sing, and stay up ’til midnight wrapping presents. It’s why we sing the special songs, and invite long lost relatives over, and eat too much.

We are human. We are flawed and aware of how easy it is to get weary. But because of Christmas, we can rejoice. I challenge you to carefully listen to the words of your favorite Christmas songs. Maybe print them out. Meditate on them. Why do you like those songs in particular? Ask yourself what you rejoice in. And if you haven’t rejoiced in a while, this is a great time of year to start.

Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

This verse paints a picture of a mighty God, one who is ready for battle. No longer a helpless babe, He is strong enough to conquer your enemies even when you are at your most weary. So the night Christ was born really is the “Holiest of Nights” isn’t it? Now, He fights for us. Then Zephaniah says, He isn’t going to rebuke or punish anymore, He will deal with us graciously. He can do that now, because of the power of Christ’s blood, covering our sin. But like a shiny red bow on top of a gift, the best part of this verse shows that our mighty God actually rejoices over us! He rejoices over me. Can you see Him beaming over you? Jesus went through the pain of making sure you could be His forever, and now He rejoices. Can you feel His love pouring over you? All imperfections are gone because of His sacrifice. If He can rejoice over me, it’s time for me to rejoice over Him, the only one who is worthy.

Rejoice!

Please take the time to read the Christmas carol in its entirety below.

In 1847, Placide Cappeau a French poet first wrote the well-known poem, “Minuit, chrétiens” that would later become “O Holy Night”. John Sullivan Dwight’s translated version is found below.

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, ‘Til He appear’d 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 divine, O night, O night Divine.

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, 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 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, 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!

 

Writing in answer to His call,

Hosanna Barton

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6 thoughts on “The Holiest of Nights

    • I’m so thankful this lifted you, Laura! Hosanna Barton wrote this post…she’s amazing, isn’t she?!

      I write the posts for the 1st and 3rd weeks of the month, Hosanna writes on the 2nd week, and Jamie, my mom, writes on the last week. So visit often!

  1. It is important that we do spend time thinking about these things. I remember as a child wanting desperately to know more about God and the whole scheme of things. I had no one to teach me and I did not have a Bible. Praise God he lead me in the way of salvation (finally). Because there was to be a Hosanna in my future and she had to hear the truth!. PTL

  2. Pingback: This Christmas Story | FWC Sisters' Ministry: Woman to Woman

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