Countdown to Christmas: Day 18. "O Holy Night!"

O Holy Night!

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 came 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 - to our weakness is no stranger.
Behold your King, before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, before Him lowly bend! 

"O Holy Night!" is my favorite Christmas anthem. I think I could recite the first verse lyrics, or at least sing them, without any help. The rest of the song? Not so much.

But in the second verse, these are the lines that speak to me:

"In all our trials born to be our Friend.
He knows our need – to weakness is no stranger."

Consider the writer's claim: Christ is born to be our Friend.

As a child, I remember hearing the hymn "What A Friend We Have in Jesus." The image of as friend isn't new. I've always considered "friend" to be one of the many, many roles Jesus plays. It's right there on the list with Savior, Helper, Comforter, Redeemer and on and on it goes.

This song claims Christ is born to be our friend. Christ doesn't arrive as a transcendent cosmic hero at Christmas. Maybe God could have orchestrated other means to rescue humanity; one that didn't require the incarnation. But God walks among us for the purpose of inviting us to connect. God interacted personally with Adam, Eve, Enoch and Moses. Christ's objective is to do the same with us. He enters our world with the aim of friendship.

Not only that, but this King/friend also knows our needs. Have you ever had a friend who was kind, gracious and maybe a little oblivious? He or she was loyal to the end, but had a hard time anticipating your needs? Jesus isn't a cold clinician; he doesn't just diagnose our hurts. He identifies with them. Weakness is no stranger to him. Loneliness? Rejection? Anger? Temptation? Disappointment? Grief? Jesus knows them all.

He's a friend who knows everything about us.

And he's the only companion who can empathize with every challenge we face.

It's another aspect of the great news of Christmas: we are not alone. We can trust God implicitly; Jesus already walked the road we're traveling. He knows what's around the bend and promises to walk it with us.

And it's this truth that prompts hoping hearts to glow.

Craig Custance