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December 12

"O Holy Night" is the English translation of "Cantique de Noël" (also known as "Minuit, Chrétiens"). Though not appearing in any of the hymnals we own, it is very popular. The song actually has three verses, though most recordings use only the first. This make sense, given that it takes two minutes to play a single verse at a reasonable speed. This is supposedly the first piece of music broadcast over radio (in 1906).

This was very difficult to play on the banjo, in part because you need to play pretty far up the neck, which I haven't done much of yet. It took many takes to get something that sounded good. Since each take lasted so long, it took awhile to get this recording, but I think it turned out well.

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O Holy Night

Words: Placide Cappeau, 1847; trans. John Sullivan Dwight.
Music: Adolphe-Charles Adam, 1847.

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared 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, Oh hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine.

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here come the wise men from Orient land
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, He guardeth us from danger
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!

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.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord, O praise His name forever!
His pow'r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow'r and glory evermore proclaim!

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