A brief history of ‘O Holy Night,’ the rousing Christmas hymn that garnered mixed reviews

“It might be a good thing to discard this piece whose popularity is becoming unhealthy,” one early critic wrote.

Twenty-six years ago, George W. Hunt, S.J., then editor in chief of America, wrote that “O Holy Night” was one of his favorites among Yuletide songs, modestly adding: “I’ve sung it countless times in choir (the dull second tenor part).”

Our fond memories of “O Holy Night” are closely associated with the familiar English words translated from the original French by the Unitarian minister John Sullivan Dwight. Former director of the school at the 19th-century Brook Farm commune in Massachusetts, Dwight witnessed the conversion to Catholicism of a number of his fellow commune members, including Isaac Hecker—later a Roman Catholic priest and founder of the Paulist Fathers, the first religious community of priests created in North America. Continue reading “A brief history of ‘O Holy Night,’ the rousing Christmas hymn that garnered mixed reviews”

Christmas Eve, 2021: Eckhart on Our Birthing the Christ

By Rev. Matthew Fox 12/24/2021

Christmas is many things.  That is its power and its invitation.  It opens up avenues for archetypes galore to seize us and transform ourselves and society itself.

For example, we have been meditating during Advent on the damaged and toxic and unholy masculine that has permeated culture and history for centuries.  This has proven to be a very important and useful practice.  Advent is meant to be sort of a mini-Lent where we give up things, let go of things, in order to purify our souls and their intentions after all.

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful grace if each of us and all of humanity were to fast from patriarchal mind sets during advent and beyond in preparation for some Good News about another way to live in the world?

Meister Eckhart, himself a very balanced man who entertained both the divine feminine and the sacred masculine in his consciousness, is a special guide to understanding deeper layers of meaning to Christmas.

Consider, for example, what he tells us of Christ’s birth.  Referring to John’s Gospel, he comments that John’s statement that the Word of God was ‘in the beginning’ tells us that “it is always ‘in the beginning,’” and

if it is always ‘in the beginning’ it is always in the process of being born, of being begotten….And so it comes about that the Son in the Godhead, the word ‘in the beginning,’ is always being born, is always already born.

Indeed, “In God the Son is constantly born and will constantly be born.”  When we undergo our many births and rebirths and breakthroughs, the birth “does not take place once a year or once a month or once a day but all the time….”  And as often as this birth takes place [in us], so does “the Son of God become born.”


Adapted from Matthew Fox, Passion for Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart, pp. 330f.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: We give birth. Photo by Isaac Quesada on Unsplash.

 

Rev. Matthew Fox, PhD, author, theologian, and activist priest, has been calling people of spirit and conscience into the Creation Spirituality lineage for over 50 years. His 36 books (translated into 74 languages), as well as his lectures, retreats, and innovative education models, have ignited an international movement to awaken people to be mystics and prophets, contemplative activists, who honor and defend the earth and work for justice. To learn more, visit matthewfox.org

Source: Christmas Eve, 2021: Eckhart on Our Birthing the Christ – Daily Meditations with Matthew Fox

Comme une Française: How to say Merry Christmas in French (with the right pronunciation!)

Joyeux Noël! It’s easy enough to discover the translation of “Merry Christmas” in French, but as an English speaker that pesky little “ë” may leave you scratching your head in confusion. What does it mean? Why is it there? And, most importantly, how is it pronounced? In today’s festive video lesson, I want to teach you the correct way to make this “ë” sound in French, so that you can feel completely confident in your pronunciation when wishing someone a Joyeux Noël this holiday season.

Géraldine