December 18, 2016

O Holy Night

Insofar as my personal favorite Christmas Hymns go, "O Holy Night" has to rank up near the top, if not at the top. Perhaps it is the lyrics themselves, but more likely than not, it is simply a few key words that seem to strike the chord in my Immortal Soul, as a reminder of where I belong and what I must do in order to gain Heaven: "Fall on your knees!" Yes, we must all fall on our knees and debase ourselves at the foot of the Christ Child's crib, lest we fall forever into the Eternal Pit in later life.

Though not a truly Catholic hymn, it was nevertheless first read in a Catholic Church in 1843, so done because the priest pastor asked its author,  Placide Cappeau, a hometown native and French Poet, to write a Christmas poem as the church organ was broken. Soon after, Adolphe Adam, the noted French composer and music critic, set it to music.  Unitarian minister John Sullivan Dwight created the modern sung version back in 1855. So, though it was written for a Catholic Church service by (here I assume) a Catholic poet, it only came to prominence via the hand of a Protestant minister. Another "God writes straight with crooked lines" moment in Church musical history, in my opinion, and thus was it elevated above the mere normal Christian holiday song and remains a truly Catholic one able to touch my Soul.

I came across the below You Tube video just this morning, after Mass. I've struggled of late trying to find something worthwhile to write about, even though both Canon 212 and Pewsitter are full of headlines that turns one stomach in disgust and would ably serve as fodder for my less-than-adequate commentary for the week. But, in this week before Christmas, I am glad I found something a bit different to share with my readers, in both song and story - and I dare say, a most sublime and beautiful Catholic rendition of both.


Copyright 2016 David Heath - All Rights Reserved

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