Hopefully by now, as this is the third of our advent blogs, you’re beginning to feel that Christmas is really just around the corner! As I write, it is less than two weeks to Christmas day! Have you noticed the temperature dropping, the occasional frost and even, on the hills around Sheffield, the first snowfalls of winter? It’s beginning to feel rather more like Christmas each day. In the roads, around where I live, people have expressed their hope for the future by putting up massive numbers of coloured lights and decorations.

Our carol services will probably be rather different this year, online or recorded instead of by candlelight, starlight or even electric light! But the wonderful words of the Carols, their meanings and what they celebrate, do not change.

This well known and loved Christmas Carol was written as a poem and then set to music in 1847 by Adolphe Adam, a French composer.

Oh, holy night
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear saviour’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error, pining
'Til He appeared and the soul felt it’s worth

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn'
Fall on your knees, oh, hear the Angels' voices
Oh, night divine, oh, night when Christ was born
Oh, night divine, oh, night, oh night divine

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn'
Fall on your knees, oh, hear, hear the Angels' voices
Oh, night divine, yeah, oh, night when Christ was born
Oh, night divine, oh, night, oh night divine

Oh yes, said rise (oh night divine)
It is the night of the Lord saviour’s birth
Oh, night divine (oh, oh, Lord, baby)
Oh, night divine (it was a holy, holy, holy, oh)
Oh, oh, oh, oh (oh night divine)

This is a (oh night, yeah, yeah)
Oh night divine, oh night, holy night!
Oh night divine, oh night, holy night!
Oh night divine, oh night
Oh night divine, oh night, holy night!

This is described as a timeless Carol and of course it is timeless, in that it captures, the birth of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus over 2000 years ago and the reason why he, God came as a man to earth. Maybe this year we feel we need to have “thrill of hope” for the future even more, as we feel the weariness of this Covid-19 world upon us, far far…. more than in any other year?

And what is that hope?

The hope is because of the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Born in a stable yet born a King. Have you heard of anybody being born as a King? Born as a prince, yes, becoming a king, yes in time, but born as a King, no; something quite unique. King Jesus who came to earth to put our relationship right with God.

"A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn'"

And why is that hope important?

King Jesus who came to repair that relationship with God, by paying the penalty for our rebellion and sin against God and God’s law, through his death on the cross and making that relationship right again. Not just for one time, but for all time and for all peoples. Whatever the colour of their skin and the language they speak.

"For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn'
Fall on your knees, oh, hear, hear the Angels' voices
Oh, night divine, yeah, oh, night when Christ was born"

And what does that hope change?

It changes everything, it brings a new hope into our world. Celebrate the light coming into the World!

"It is the night of our dear saviour’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error, pining
'Til He appeared and the soul felt it’s worth"

Why is that important to us at WorldShare?

Here at WorldShare that is important to us because first and foremost, through our ministry partners we want the beneficiaries of our work to hear the good news of why Jesus Christ came to this earth. But WorldShare has a much wider vision, motivated by its faith, to reach out to people as our mission statement summarises it… "In the world’s neediest places, we partner with local Christians in their vision to bring about social and spiritual transformation".

WorldShare and its ministry partners are looking to impact and change communities for good, through our work. Some of that is spiritual - sharing the good news. Some of that is physical - can you share about what Jesus has done for them, with somebody who is hungry or has no shelter? Finally, some of this is also helping those who’ve suffered injustice at the hand of their fellow human beings, to re-build their lives - such as through being trafficked or held in bonded labour.

As you sing the words of this Carol, this Christmas, just remember the words of this wonderful Christmas Carol and "Fall on your knees, oh, hear the Angels' voices, Oh, night divine, oh, night when Christ was born" and worship our King too.

By Alan Butler, WorldShare’s Chief Executive

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