On the Worship Reformation Network mailing list, some recent discussion has revolved around “O Holy Night” and its appropriateness as a congregational song. Leeanne White posted a translation of the original French poem on which “O Holy Night” is based.

Midnight, Christians, it’s the solemn hour,
When God-man descended to us
To erase the stain of original sin
And to end the wrath of His Father.
The entire world thrills with hope
On this night that gives it a Savior.

People kneel down, wait for your deliverance.
Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer,
Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer!

The ardent light of our Faith,
Guides us all to the cradle of the infant,
As in ancient times a brilliant star
Conducted the Magi there from the orient.
The King of kings was born in a humble manger;
O mighty ones of today, proud of your grandeur,

It is to your pride that God preaches.
Bow your heads before the Redeemer!
Bow your heads before the Redeemer!

The Redeemer has overcome every obstacle:
The Earth is free, and Heaven is open.
He sees a brother where there was only a slave,
Love unites those that iron had chained.
Who will tell Him of our gratitude,
It’s for all of us that He is born,
That He suffers and dies.

People stand up! Sing of your deliverance,
Christmas, Christmas, sing of the Redeemer,
Christmas, Christmas, sing of the Redeemer!

Though the current English translation is beloved, I wish we had a new translation that reflected more of the character and weight of the original.

Post filed under Hymns.

One Comment

  1. I’m making a note to have one of our trained vocalists sing this in French next Christmas Eve, while giving the congregation a printed translation. What a great text.

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