10 December 2020
It’s a line from the popular carol Oh Holy Night and sung by people everywhere hoping they achieve the spine tingling feelings of the chorus and don’t miss the high notes at the end. I recently looked up the origins of the carol and discovered this interesting piece of writing outlining how the song had been banned because of the writer’s beliefs:
‘The song was banned by church leaders. The ban was allegedly alleviated after an incident during the Franco-Prussian war, where a French soldier jumped from the trenches as they were being attacked by the Germans and started to sing the song. The Germans were moved by this action, and in return sang a hymn by Martin Luther, before a truce was declared.’
At the beginning of the Christmas season and with so much uncertainty still hanging around us like the fog in Belfast last weekend, it can be a strain to feel hope and an impossibility to see an end to the chaos of the times we live in. But like the soldier in the account above, life often requires us to make a choice to move towards peace and reconciliation without knowing what it will lead to. The soldier was uncertain of how he would be responded to but he felt moved enough to try and knew he needed to express hope whether anyone else would receive it or not.
This Christmas we can find hope in the actions we take, not the feelings we experience.