O Holy Night, A Christmas Reflection

Celebration


by Josh Wolford | December 20, 2017

Let’s be more intentional about opening our whole selves to Jesus as we celebrate His birth. Isn’t that what we all really want to do? But it can be a challenge with the chaos of the holiday hustle. So, we thought it’d be fun to give you a means to do so by listening to one of our collective favorite Christmas songs. A song that seems to speak to our souls. So cue up ‘O Holy Night’ however you get your music and maybe even gather your family together, listen to the song, then discuss some of these thoughts and questions.

O holy night the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.

What’s interesting is that the authors of the scriptures go to great lengths to show that Jesus came in a less than incredible setting. His coming didn’t all go down in the temple. He didn’t come with worldly power and glory. He came humbly with parents who were poor. And so in many ways this was not what many would call Holy or “set apart”. It was more ordinary, humble, simple. Maybe God is sending us a signal? Maybe all the normalness of life that we experience is more holy than we realize? Maybe God wants to meet us right where we are?

Question: What are some holy moments that have happened in your life that happened in the midst of normal, everyday life?

Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth

Pining: “To suffer a mental and physical decline, especially because of a broken heart. To miss, to long for the return of.” The world is pining because we long for something that we often can’t put words to. But, we know something is missing. We need a Savior.

The soul. The very thing that makes you, you. It’s what makes you so valuable despite your bad or even your good decisions. God has made YOU and you are His son or daughter.

Reflection: Take a moment and just be…meditate…pray…let God speak truth over your soul, and in doing so, He will illuminate the worthiness of your soul that is already there and has always been there.

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks
A new and glorious morn

Sometimes the negativity, the fear, the rut we find ourselves in can feel a bit overwhelming. We find ourselves weary. We find ourselves in despair. As Christians, we have no need to despair. For we have HOPE because Jesus came. He brought with Him HOPE and something new!

Reflection: What new work has Jesus done in your life? How was your life before Jesus and how is it now?

Fall on your knees
O hear the angel voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born

God wants us to feel comfortable with Him.

He wants an intimate relationship.

He wants us to talk with Him and offer up quick spontaneous prayers with ease.

But on the other side of the same coin sits a reverence we are called to as well. In the Bible, whenever we see someone encounter God’s unmitigated glory, they always fall to their knees. They find their faces on the floor. They find themselves astonished at God’s beauty and might. We would do ourselves well to fall on our knees a bit more often.

Reflection: In the comfort of your own home, if you are able, fall to your knees. Allow this humble position to open yourself up to Him coming down into your life. Tell God what you think of His glory and beauty and might. Think of instances that you can share with God for each of these attributes. For example, as you ponder God’s beauty you might look to His creation and thank Him for the mountains and sunsets and oceans. Take time to enjoy God and revere Him at the same time.

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

The Hebrew understanding of peace comes from the word Shalom. Shalom encompasses wholeness and completeness in your mind, body, soul, and relationships. His gospel is peace… Shalom…a blessing, a manifestation of holy grace.

Reflection: Take a moment and identify areas in your life that you are not living in that type of holistic peace. Bring that area of your life before God. Lay it down at His altar. Wait to see if God chooses to take it away from you or to revive it with new life and hand it back to you. This might be a prayer you have to pray often, but this release can start today; it can start now. Jesus longs to break the chains in your life!

At the same time that God brings peace into your life and break your chains, He also calls you to recognize those around you in this community and beyond who are victims of unjust circumstances. He wants you to play a part in breaking their chains! In the book of Isaiah, God refers to the less fortunate around us as “our own flesh and blood.” And He very specifically calls us to not neglect them.

Reflection: How are you taking part in the reconciliation of the world? How are you engaging in God’s desire to bring shalom to all people? If you already are, great! Celebrate how God is partnering with you. If you don’t know where to start, you can go over to ccvsocal.com/outreach to begin your journey.

Sweet hymns of joy
In grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us praise His holy Name

When we encounter Jesus for who He truly is, we have what Pastor Jeff calls a “Jesus revelation.” We experience Him and He changes everything. He brings us a joy deep within us. We realize all that we ought to be grateful for. We naturally follow Paul’s teaching in Colossians 3.15 to “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” After we’ve met Jesus, everything within us hums with a praise of the Holy One.

Reflection: If this does not fully describe you, does that mean you don’t love God or haven’t really met Him? No. Not necessarily. But it might mean that you have taken your eyes off of Him. In this life we will have troubles. That’s a guarantee. But if we look to them first, if we see our insecurities first, if we jump to the issues in our lives, then that is all we will see. If we look to Jesus first, though, He will remind us of who He is, who we are in Him, and our place in this world. In short, He will give us the perspective we need. Take time to let your soul gaze upon and connect with Jesus and let Him give you proper perspective.

Christ is the Lord
O praise His Name forever
His power and glory
Evermore proclaim
His power and glory
Evermore proclaim

Reflection: Simply use this as an opportunity to read those words back as a prayer of commitment to God for the rest of your life. Read them in the first person: “I recognize you Christ, that you are the Lord. I will praise your name forever. Your power and glory, I will evermore proclaim.”

Fall on your knees
O hear the angel voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
O night divine
O night divine

Reflection: Finish your time by pondering what it will be like to sing in heaven one day with all the saints and angels as we give glory to Jesus. One day we will! Until then, we do our best to imitate this future moment with our whole lives now.

Now that you have done some hard work, reflection, and soul searching, play O Holy Night again and simply rest in God and enjoy this Christmas season. We celebrate this Jesus who came in the midst of darkness to bring joy, beauty, and grace.


Josh Wolford
Josh is a husband, father, pastor, and aspiring laundromat missionary. He is incredibly curious about the way people connect with each other and with God.