Monday, December 24, 2012

Advent Day Twenty-Three: Behold your King!

O Holy Night

O Holy Night!  The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope: the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;
Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night divine, O night, O 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 came the wise men from Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our Friend;
He knows our need; to our weakness is no stranger.
Behold your King, before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, before Him lowly bend!

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;
Christ is the Lord: O praise His Name forever!
His power and glory evermore proclaim!
His power and glory evermore proclaim!

Although it's very difficult to choose, I think this the Christmas song I love best.  Part of the reason is just the incredible beauty of the music.  (My favourite rendition of "O Holy Night" can be heard HERE, sung by Lucy MacNeil of the Barra MacNeils.)

But besides the beautiful melody, the song also carries a powerful message of peace and reconciliation.  In a world where discord, domination, and competition seem so prevalent, "O Holy Night" calls us to bow to the One who came to bring love and peace and who breaks the chains of the enslaved and oppressed.

My favourite scene in the entire Lord of the Rings movie trilogy occurs in The Two Towers when Gandalf, Legolas, Gimli, and Aragorn  ride up to the castle of Rohan to meet with its king and determine the source of the evil spell under which he has fallen.  As the visitors approach the hilltop castle, the flag of Rohan, which has been flapping on the flagpole high on the wall, rips away from the pole, flies through the air, and flings itself onto the ground where Aragorn is passing by on his horse.  Though at that moment very few people are aware that Aragorn is destined to become the King of all the peoples of Middle Earth, the flag recognizes its true master and falls to the ground in homage.


Our King came to earth as a helpless baby in a "lowly manger"; Scripture tells us that "the world did not recognize him" (John 1:10).  Yet the song calls us to fall on our knees before Him:

"Behold your King!  Before Him lowly bend!"


  1. That song is lovely in the voice of Lucy MacNeill, Jeannie. And your reflection on that scene in The Two Towers is perfect. Aragorn was a king of kings in his way. In Jesus the wise men (kings or astrologers or royalty or noblemen) saw the king that their authority bows to.

    1. Thanks, Tim. That scene from TTT is so moving to me. And yes, I have heard many, many versions of O Holy Night, but Lucy MacNeil's stands alone as far as I'm concerned.


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