O Holy Night – Seriously?

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By Davalynn Spencer @davalynnspencer

I think the flagship song of religious Christmas celebration should be retitled: “O Horrifying Night.”

(Before you stop reading to write me a scathing email, think about it.)

The whole Nativity scenario is the perfect setup for stress: essential homelessness for a young expectant mother—no B&B’s in Bethlehem. Imminent delivery, less than clean or comforting surroundings, and strangers everywhere, some of them (aka shepherds) showing up to see the baby in the middle of the night.

Sounds pretty horrifying to me.

Okay, I admit I love the song, “O Holy Night” (listen here), and have played and sung it countless times, but it romanticizes a traumatic moment in human history, leaving out the pain, apprehension, and yes, the risk of birth.

And yet, God chose to share even this with us—basic entry into human life on earth.

It’s just like God to show up on the darkest nights in the hardest situations. When fear of the known or unknown wraps us in lightless terror, He comes with hope and comfort. He chooses the quietest moments, when uncertainty of security amplifies anxiety. When faith is at its lowest ebb or absent altogether.

Consider Abraham, Isaac, Jacob … the shepherds near Bethlehem. Each met God in fear or wonder at night.

And He’s still showing up.

Regardless of our personal situations this year, may we sense His presence in our darkest nights. Whether they be holy or horrifying, may we take comfort in the fact that He is here. *Emmanuel—God with us. 

The Christmas Story

*Also rendered Immanuel


ALT="Loving the Horseman book cover"


“Prospectors and speculators will tell you there is no gold in Cañon City. Show them otherwise. Let the trial in your life—whatever that trial may be—purify your faith to a burning, burnished gold, worthy of the King who was the Child, so that something more valuable than mined mountain ore will shine for Him here.” ~Caleb Hutton in Loving the Horseman





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(c) 2017 Davalynn Spencer, all rights reserved. 

2 thoughts on “O Holy Night – Seriously?

  1. This is so true! I’ve often wondered about how Mary felt, traveling all that way, oh yay, on a donkey. Because that was supposed to be comfortable? Then giving birth in a barn. Without her mother or female relatives to help her? Was Joseph useful? One hopes.
    And who doesn’t smile and whip out the snacks when a flock of shepherds shows up at 2am after a woman just had a baby? Maybe they waited until the next night?
    All sark aside, I needed that reminder…”He’s still showing up”. Thank you!

    1. davalynn

      Oh, yes, Jennifer. I’m so glad He’s still showing up. (And I love your ‘flock of shepherds.’)


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