Summary: O HOLY NIGHT
O HOLY NIGHT
Luke 2:1-20 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
O HOLY NIGHT
Intro: This world has witnessed many nights since it was created by God. Many of those nights passed without anything remarkable taking place. Others saw profound changes in history take place.
On April 14, 1865 America went to bed thankful that the long, bloody War Between the States was finally over. America awoke the next morning to discover that President Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated. On December 6, 1941 America went to bed watching war spread across Asia and Europe, and thankful that, for the time being, America was being left out of the conflict. They awoke the next morning to news of the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and to the awareness that avoiding war was no longer a possibility.
On June 5, 1944 the world went to bed wondering when Adolph Hitler and his Nazi armies would be defeated and the people of Europe delivered from his iron grip. The world awoke the next day to news of the Allied invasion at Normandy on D-Day.
The nights I just mentioned brought radical changes to the world. Other nights have brought incredible circumstances to pass, and the world failed to notice. One such night is the one portrayed in our text. The night Jesus Christ was born was an ordinary night from a human standpoint. The shepherds are watching their sheep. The people in the villages and towns of Israel sleep off the weariness of another long, hard day. In Jerusalem, the High Priest and the other men of religious power sleep as though it was any other night. King Herod has no idea that his kingdom has been invaded, and that a new King is about to be revealed. The world over people drifted off to sleep not knowing that God was transacting eternal business in their very midst. They did not know that a Savior was being born in Bethlehem. The night Jesus was born had all the appearances of being just another common, ordinary night. Yet, the events that occurred that night reveal it to be like no another night in human history. I want us to look at the events of that holy night.
Many years ago, in 1847, a composer by the name of Adolphe Adam wrote the words to a powerful Christmas carol called “O Holy Night” :