Due to my family's dysfunction, Christmas has never been an easy time for me. Then I got saved on Dec. 22 and my ex-husband left me the very next day to celebrate the holidays alone. To say I loathed Christmas and all its trappings (including the music) is a bit of an understatement.
I'd heard "O Holy Night" (magnificently sung here by Aaron Neville) hundreds of times, but it wasn't until I heard Rev Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries speaking in 2007 that one of the lyrics stood out to me. It sums up what Jesus did for the world:
Long lay the world in sin and error pining //
Till He appear'd and the soul felt its worth
It just struck me. Jesus came and our collective souls could feel their worth.
My sin and mistakes had caused me to twist and turn for years. But once I asked Jesus to run my life, my soul -- for the very first time -- could finally feel its true value. And my weary heart and mind were able to rejoice for the first time in my life.
And just like that, I had a Christmas carol that I could relate to.
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
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