Holy

History of “O Holy Night”
From bbc.co.uk : “This carol began life as the French poem Minuit, chrétiens written by Placide Cappeau in 1847 and was translated into English by John Sullivan Dwight. The music was composed by Adolphe-Charles Adam, who also wrote the ballet Giselle.”

From andrews.edu.com: “… in 1847… a town priest in Southern France asked Placide Cappeau, the local mayor, wine merchant, and amateur poet to contribute a new poem for Christmas Eve Midnight Mass. While on a business trip to Paris, Cappeau wrote Cantique de Noël, inspired by the Gospel story and following the French country tradition of imagining himself at the birth of Christ. Upon arrival in Paris, Cappeau sought to have the poem set to music by the eminent composer for the stage, Adolphe Adam (best known for his ballet Giselle). Adam quickly provided the music, the piece was happily accepted by the priest for the Christmas Eve service, and its popularity grew all over France. In time, the song fell out of favor with the French clergy (not because of the text or music, but because of Cappeau’s socialist views and Adam’s Jewish ancestry) but it never lost its appeal. An American Abolitionist minister, John Sullivan Dwight, published an English translation of the text, O Holy Night that has remained the most popular English version of this beloved Christmas anthem. Dwight was particularly drawn to the third stanza of the text (not heard tonight) that describes Christ’s ministry and teachings, which expressed the minister’s own views on slavery and the civil war that was raging at the time:

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.”

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