Do you ever hear a song that you’ve heard a million times in your life, but one day you really lean in and listen to the words?
That happened to me recently. In an advent email I was receiving daily, one of the days talked about the history of the song “O Holy Night.” I had no idea the origins or the history of the song.
“O Holy Night” was written by a French, Jewish man in 1847. The song took off, but when the French realized it was written by a Jewish man they tried to bury it. France banned the song for 2 decades. But it lingered. The power of the song was impossible to smother.
On Christmas Eve in 1871, the Russians and French were fighting in the Franco-Prussian War when a French soldier began to sing “O Holy Night” in German. He held no weapons. Both sides lowered their weapons and celebrated Christmas for 24 hours together after he sang this carol.
On Christmas Eve in 1906, the first voice appeared on the radio: Reginald Fessenden in partnership with young Thomas Edison. Reginald read the Christmas story and concluded with playing his violin and singing “O Holy Night.”
“O Holy Night” was the first song to ever be played on the radio.
So upon learning this history lesson, I began to wonder if I had really listened to the lyrics carefully. If this carol had the power to stop a battle and to be the first song played on the radio, what had I missed?
I listened to it. And the line that really caught my breath was “Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.”
Did I know my worth before I knew Jesus? No, I didn’t. We are worthy and treasured because of Jesus appearing on this Earth for us. My soul now knows worth and meaning and purpose because of Him. 2020 hasn’t been easy, but I don’t have to reiterate that for anyone. There have been moments where I haven’t felt worthy of and in this life. I’ve felt purposeless and left behind, but that tends to happen when I set my hopes on myself and the world instead of on our Savior.
Another line that sparked something in me was “A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices.”
Oh, how weary our world has felt this year. Small victories have felt monumental. And I think that’s been a beautiful reminder of how small victories are victories all the same. Stripped down, vulnerable moments that have happened in this year have reminded us that life isn’t what it always appears to be on social media.
I will fight for myself and rejoice in Jesus. My soul now knows worth because of Him. My soul now knows hope because of Him. And I hope you feel that same worth too.
And can I challenge you to something in 2021? Make room.
Make room for people. Make room for the broken, the strange, the hard to love… make room.
There was no room for Jesus at the inn. People didn’t want to make room for His presence. People didn’t want to make room for how He would challenge their ideas, their thoughts, their lives… make room this year.
Make room for challenges. Make room for your dreams. Make room for action. Make room. Make room for Jesus to move and let your life be radically changed.
Happy NYE, friend.