.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Blog of the Grateful Bear

ramblings of a freelance panentheist {"all things are in God, and God is in all things"} . . . musings on Emergent spirituality, powerlifting, LGBTQueer issues, contemplative prayer, mysticism, cats, music, healing, and more. I like my coffee and my existentialism dark-roasted.

My Photo
Location: Marietta, Georgia, United States

I'm an LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor), in private practice in Marietta, Georgia. My writings on queer spirituality have been published in Whosoever and several other magazines. I live in a house-in-the-woods (Bear's Hermitage) in Marietta with Leonidas (Lenny) and Guy, Mighty Warrior Cats, and way too many books.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

O Holy Night

Repeating (and updating) a blogpost from a few years ago about my all-time favorite Christmas song, “O Holy Night” ~

I love the history of this 1847 song (the first song to be broadcast on radio, in 1906), a song that was initially rejected by many churches because its lyricist was a “free-thinker” wine merchant, its composer was Jewish, and its third verse was decidedly anti-slavery:

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.

Sadly, most recorded versions of “O Holy Night” leave out that third verse. A recent one that doesn’t is on Holly Happy Days, a beautiful, mostly-acoustic new CD from the Indigo Girls. Another is on the Christmas Offerings CD by Third Day, one of my favorite Christian rock groups.

Both versions are good renditions of my all-time favorite Christmas carol, which has a somewhat-gnostic bent in its first verse: equating “sin” with “error” (rather than disobedience or transgression) and describing the appearance of the Christ child as the time when “the soul felt its worth.”

May your soul feel its true worth this Christmas!


Labels: ,


Blogger Charles Kinnaird said...

I first became aware of this song during my teen years and loved it from the start. I was unaware of its history - thank you for your enlightening post.

3:08 PM, December 19, 2010  
Blogger brotherdoc said...

I too like the song and you are probably aware that it was written first in French--the thought about the slave being a brother is there, but the original has a much more orthodox view of sin/salvation and calls Jesus the God-man. A reasonably decent translation can be found at:
It is still quite a lovely Christmas song. I do no not know who is responsible for the Engliah lyric. Blessings at Christmas, Darrell, I guess this will be the first without your beloved dad, but take comfort in the words of this song!

9:20 PM, December 24, 2010  
Anonymous Irving said...

Really fascinating history of one of my favorites too :) Thank you for posting it.

Peace and Blessings!

12:31 PM, March 22, 2011  

Post a Comment

<< Home