Christmas Eve Service
Tuesday, December 24th
Bread & Cup Communion
Candle Light Service
This years Choir cantata –
“O Holy Night”
The Story Behind “O Holy Night”
Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure was a sporadic churchgoer who later gave up attending altogether. He was the son of a cooper and probably would have followed in his father’s trade of making wine barrels had a friend not accidentally shot him in the hand when he was eight.
Cappeau claimed he wrote “Minuit Chretiens”, or “O Holy Night”, during a stagecoach journey to Paris in 1847. Perhaps the lack of a traveling companion allowed divine inspiration to do its work.
Knowing Cappeau’s literary abilities, the local priest had asked him to write a carol for Christmas. Cappeau himself seems to have been impressed by the outcome and he rushed to have his composer friend Adolphe-Charles Adam put a suitable tune to the piece. The carol was immediately popular, but when it came out that Cappeau was (by then) a socialist nonchurchgoer and Adam was Jewish, the French church banned it for a time.
“O Holy Night” is a beautiful poetic expression of faith, despite the uncertainty of its author’s religious stance.
After the French church banned the carol, it was given a new lease on life in America where the line “Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother” made it somewhat of an anthem among abolitionists.
In a precursor to the more famous World War I Christmas truce, a young French soldier stepped into “no man’s land” in 1871 and serenaded his Prussian enemies with “O Holy Night”.