Carol O Holy Night (John Sullivan Dwight 1855 based on Placide Cappeau 1843)
O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till 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! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night divine!
God’s glory is seen in a beautiful sunset or landscape. God’s glory is known in the transcendence of worship or the stillness of prayer.
God’s glory is revealed quietly and wonderfully in the birth of Jesus and the life of Jesus. God’s glory seen, fully, in a human being.
Reading (John 1:14, 16-18)
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in the closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
Reflection (by Chine McDonald)
Everything changed the day my son was born.
He burst into the world on a Sunday morning and my husband and I held him in our arms and felt this immense and overwhelming sense of love. Our lives would never be the same again.
The weary world Christ entered into at Christmas on the Holy Night – a world that had been “in sin and error pining” – had been waiting for him, just as we had been waiting for our son. Christ’s birth changed everything. His presence brought hope and light where there had been despair.
This is the wonder of the incarnation: God becomes human. God bursts into our darkness, with a light dazzling in its hopefulness.
Whatever we might be facing this year and in the coming months, what a comfort it is to know that God himself walks with us. This is the beauty of the incarnation.
How might you bring a glimpse of glory to another person today? What might you give, or say, or do, that offers beauty or wonder, goodness or grace?
God of glory, thank you that you walk with us. Fill us with your grace today, that others may see, reflected in us, your glory, as we see you in them.