Midnight Has Come

RezArts Festival submission
By Matthew Wolf

“Midnight Has Come” is my translation of the French Christmas carol “Cantique de Noël” by Placide Cappeau (1843). This song was translated into English by John S. Dwight as “O Holy Night “(1855).

I have heard people say that the French original is both better and worse than the standard translation “O Holy Night.” I was curious whether I could make a singable translation that was closer to the French original. I still depart from the original in some instances, as meter or rhyme required, or as suited my own idea of what a Christmas carol should say.

The text expresses joyful hope, patience in suffering, and faithful prayer (Romans 12:12).

1.
Midnight has come: This is the solemn hour
In which the God-Man is born on the earth,
To free the world from sin’s enslaving power,
And to release it from wrath and the curse.

The whole world trembles like a stirring dreamer,
As on this night the Savior will appear.
You on your knees, await your strong Redeemer!
Noel! Noel! Behold, your Savior nears.
Noel! Noel! Behold, your Savior nears.

2.
Oh that our faith, a light around us gleaming
Would ever lead us to our Savior’s side;
As long ago, the star intensely beaming
For eastern wise men did serve as a guide.

The King of kings is swaddled in a manger.
Be warned, you mighty who are ruling now:
Worship the Son, before he speaks in anger.
Lie on your face! Before the Savior bow.
Lie on your face! Before the Savior bow.

3.
He broke the walls that keep us from each other.
The earth is free, and the heavens are gained.
Let the redeemed no more enslave his brother;
His love unites us with those who were chained.

How shall we thank him for his incarnation?
It was for us, his birth and suffering.
Stand up and sing! Oh sing of your salvation:
Noel! Noel! Unto your Savior sing.
Noel! Noel! Unto your Savior sing.

Matthew Wolf lives in Carol Stream with his wife, Bonnie, and his three sons, Florian, Freddy, and Francis. They have been attending Church of the Resurrection for 12 years.

>>There’s still time to contribute to the RezArts Festival, whether you’re 5 or 85, a novice or professional. We’ve extended the submission deadline to January 15! 
>>Jumpstart your creative process at our Festival Workshop Night on Wednesday, January 5. Try a workshop in creative writing, visual arts, or worship song writing. Learn more and RSVP here.

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// Church of the Resurrection