O Holy Night

I’ve never been a big Christmas person. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you probably know that, but you can also read about it here. So, in years past, I’ve mostly waited for Christmas to be over. But, strangely, this year has been different. The day after Thanksgiving I insisted that we get our tree up. I decorated every available space in our living room and kitchen with twinkle lights, Christmas tree figurines, and white, fluffy fake snow.


My partner thought I had gone a little bit crazy, and my nearly two-year old daughter loved it, exclaiming “Lights! Wow!” over and over again. But through it all, I found myself singing a song that was not one of my normal favorites: O Holy Night.

While O Holy Night is obviously a traditional Christmas song, I’m normally more of a fan of songs with a little more bop. Things like Jingle Bells and Rudolph are often sung in our house – especially since having a daughter. But I found myself singing O Holy Night over and over again.


When was the last time you really listened to that song? Here are the lyrics of the first verse, for you to consider:

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 appears 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, O Holy night, O night divine!

Did you catch the line that I’ve found myself singing over and over? There are several from the whole song that fit this year, I think, but the one I kept singing is a simple one:

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices


More than anything else, that line resonates with me in this year of the pandemic. Like many people, this year has been stressful for me and my family for a variety of reasons. We have all done our best to stay home, to stay safe. But it has not been easy. There has been job loss, restlessness, and illness. The world has shown itself to be sometimes an uglier place than I like to imagine, between the political vitriol that surrounded the elections and the meanness I have witness among some members of my community. Clearly, this year, we are a very weary world.


But that’s why, I think, this Christmas really sticks out to me. A thrill of hope! We have reason to rejoice, even if it is not easy. In my family, this holiday has become less about the commercialism of Christmas. We agreed to keep it small, to only give each other gifts that bring joy and fun. I’ve done most of my shopping online, as I continue to avoid stores, and it has made me considerably happier than I am some years, when fighting the crowds at the stores seems to take up a lot of my energy. We are focusing on what is truly important: family, love, and faith.

I added one final piece of art to my mantle this week. A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.
I hope you can rejoice this year, despite the hardships we all face. For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.


About the Author

me-and-soph-sized-downElizabeth Powers is the Electronic Communications Manager for the Congregation of St. Joseph and manages the blog, Beyond the Habit. She sometimes acts as a contributing writer. She loves reading, writing, Harry Potter, and PBS. She is a first time mom, and working to figure it out!

8 thoughts on “O Holy Night

  1. Sallie Latkovich says:

    Oh! Dear Elizabeth, Indeed, I echo your own reflection on the thrill of hope. Thanks so much and Merry Christmas to you and your family!


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