In 1843, a the parish priest in Requemaure was super excited. The church organ was finally restored and he wanted something played on it that would showcase its beauty. There was a local poet, who happened to be an atheist, who was available for hire. He only had one hand, but he used it to pen a few lines. The composer of Giselle, a man of the Jewish faith and a friend of the atheist, then put those lines to music. An opera singer, Emily Laurey, joyfully kicked off the Christmas season by debuting “Cantique de Noel” accompanied by the illustrious organ. The congregation loved it, but soon people learned that it was written by men who did not share their faith. They couldn’t see past the labels put on the authors and and it was banned from the French church.
Eventually, John Sullivan Dwight, an American Unitarian Minister, heard the song and decided to “reimagine” it a bit as he translated it into English. He kept the tune, but changed some of the lyrics. He even gave it a new name.
Christ does the same for us. He gives us a new name.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. Cor 5:17
He takes the “unacceptable” and transforms it into something wonderful. He does it every.single.day.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
One of the greatest gifts of 2020 is the permission to change the way we do things. From our very birth, others begin to define who you are and how you relate to others. Hey, they even define what you eat for Holiday dinners. This year, you have permission to be something new—to take the “old” and reimagine.
It was a cold night. For the last six months, the men had lived with the horrors of trench warfare. Cold, sick and constantly surrounded by death, the men pushed on—inch by inch. Somewhere out of the blackness came a strain of music. “O Holy Night.” Things got a little quiet. The Germans responded with a hymn by Martin Luther. The guns stopped. Everyone paused. For the next twenty four hours, the Franco-Prussian War halted.
This song, which was originally rejected, saved lives on the night of December 24, 1870.
You can do the same. You, like the song, are “reimagined.” You are accepted, loved and empowered by Christ himself. You can read through years of blog entries here that share some of the same messages—the Lord does not waste anything. He can redeem anything. He will use the broken pieces to create something beautiful that glorifies Him and edifies the body of Christ. However, what you can’t get by simply reading is the decision to believe and act upon the words. That is something that only you can do. This Christmas season, may that be your gift to yourself—to fully see yourself through God’s eyes and boldly embrace His vision for your life as you encounter “a thrill of hope.”
And now…the song. Soak it in, my friends.
O Holy Night
O Holy Night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!
Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh 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
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