12 Days of Christmas: O Holy Night

I love Christmas, I really do! It’s my favorite holiday and my favorite time of year because the air is charged with a different kind of spirit and expectation that something’s coming. Even though I love Christmas and I’ve been listening to Christmas music since way before it was socially acceptable to do so (sorry to anyone who has ridden in my car in the last month), it still seems to sneak up on me, and then pass with more of a fizzle than a bang… so, in expectation of Christmas, and in an effort to get my mind right for the holidays, I am going to do a short devo every day leading up to Christmas built out of some of my favorite Christmas carols. I hope you’ll join me for some or all of these next 12 days of Christmas!

O Holy Night

[^this is my favorite band, singing one of their songs in medley w/ O Holy Night, SO FREAKING GOOD! start about 1:30]

O Holy Night is my favorite Christmas song. It just is, I love it. No song captures the set-apartness of the Christmas season in the way that this one does. There’s just a special reverence to it that makes my heart sing. If you think about it, that’s what Christmas is supposed to do, right? It’s supposed to be a time that we slow down to remember and revere the God that became man for us. Christmas should be a time specially marked by a sense of the holy.

Most of the posts in this series will have an air of levity about them. This is good, I believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the most joyous, happy thing that has ever happened or ever will happen. The fact that Jesus came, lived, died, and rose again, and that putting faith in Him means salvation is good news! It is worth celebrating! It means that life is rich with meaning, and joy, and levity! At the same time, if we miss the gravity of Christ’s coming, we miss a significant part of the story, and we miss out on more reason for joy. We need to know the character of the God that we worship, and He is a holy God.

Holiness means that something is set apart. If something is holy it is by nature other and distinct. I think we are often too quick to treat the spiritual as common. So before continuing in this post let’s just take a moment to center our hearts and minds on God. Take a moment to consider the fact that in this moment you find yourself in the sightline and earshot of an infinitely powerful, infinitely knowledgable, and yes, infinitely holy God. This is the perfect God that created and ordered the universe, and this is the God that presently rules over it as King.

The God, the one God, is not someone who bends to our rules and expectations. I love C.S. Lewis’ depiction of God in the character of Aslan in the Narnia books. A statement that is made in almost every one of the 7 books is that Alsan, the Great Lion, is not a tame lion, but He is good. Other religions would teach that the gods can be bent to our will if we perform certain religious duties or rituals. Christianity says that there is only one God, and He is the one on the throne, not us. In sin, we try to make ourselves in charge, but God lovingly wants to show us the real order of things. We have a hard time seeing how things should be because brokenness and sin are part of our nature, but Christmas is significant because this holy God stepped into His creation to heal that brokenness and put things back in order. He made Himself like us, so that we could be made like Him, holy and set apart. Jesus came to restore us to God’s holiness by giving us His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).

If we put our faith in Christ for salvation, we are restored to right relationship with God. God is called our father who loves us and wants good for us as His children (Matthew 7:11). This is because God is a personal God. He knows us deeply and intimately (Psalm 139). With sight of God’s holiness though, we need to understand that although God is personal, He is not common. What I mean by this is that we need to keep in sight a proper stance of reverence for our Maker and King. When we trust Jesus for salvation, we are saying that we want Him to be Lord in our lives.

O Holy night, the stars are brightly shining

It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth

Long lay the world in sin and error pining

Til He appeared and the soul felt it’s worth

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn

Fall on your knees…

We were in sin and error pining, ’til He appeared and gave us reason to rejoice. The holy God stepped into our broken world to make us new. Our posture should be one of reverence. As the song says, “fall on your knees.” This should be our posture as a rescued people before a holy God, on our knees in submission to Him. Don’t forget God’s holiness this Christmas.

 

Pray: God thank you that although I am flawed and you are perfectly holy, you loved me enough to bring me into relationship with you anyways. Such grace is enough to make me say with the Psalmist, “what is man that you are mindful of him?” God help me to stand in awe of your holiness, and help me to take a posture of submission before you as my God and King. Amen.

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