O Holy Night revised; personal contextualization to this Christmas carol

For the last 3 years when Christmas comes around and when the Christmas carol O Holy Night is sung, I alter a part of it a little bit:


I am fully aware that slavery still exists in our world, but if I recall the song was written outside of United States, but when it did come to the United States it was in the time of slavery. With that being said, I get why it was written with slave added to it, but where do I find such conflict within the church today?
Certainly in the churches across America there isn’t a master-and-slave paradigm that exists. However there is a straight-vs-Gay paradigm at times; while there are churches that are accepting, affirming, and loving of members of the LGBT Community there are some churches that practice (whether they acknowledge it or not) exclusiveness not inclusiveness, judgment over love.

So I changed the words knowing this all too well as a straight ally, it is for my brothers and sisters in the LGBT Community whose voices are not heard within Christian circles, who are silenced intentionally as well as unintentionally. I sing for those who cannot sing, who have been kicked out of church because some Christians have not extended Christ-like love to them, I have met some individuals who have gone through this and it breaks my heart but I also know it breaks God’s heart as well.


Now this isn’t a post where I’m urging you to “do what I’m doing”, I’m writing this as a wake up call to Christians everywhere! End the marginalization of those who are the “other”; and it very well could mean that it is  someone who is like you more than it means someone not like you.

I recognize in my own life the “other” are Evangelical Calvinists who have a strong sense of believe rather than faith, who have hammered down their personal theology in a controlled and precise matter. Why do those who align themselves like this bother the hell out of me? …I once was like this myself.
In realizing this after the fact (to which it served as a building block not a stepping stone) I dislike who I was, but it is part of my story and I am believing that nothing is wasted, even in those years of creating and perpetuating us-vs-them paradigms.

Yet it is these individuals I need to put more time, more patience, and certainly more love into. It is these people I want to avoid at all costs, but as my pastor wisely put it “you can’t be inclusive to all if you’re exclusive to some”, dammit! Why do you have to be so…right? He is right, and I’m getting that it is like putting a puzzle together; I need all the pieces and not just the ones that strike my attention or are easy to assemble, because any exclusion of puzzle pieces makes for an incomplete puzzle.

Altering “O Holy Night” by saying Gay Man instead of Slave is something that I have no qualms about. Yet I realize that maybe I need to broaden it, because the Evangelical Calvinist is my brother and sister too. That! That is a line I need to sing, because I need to sing for them too. So maybe if I sing it fast enough I can sing Gay-man-and-Evangelical-Calvinist at the same time 😉 I will do my best to do so, because it’s more than a song to me, it’s a posture of  living as God would have me to, it’s living in a more Christ-like way.


2 thoughts on “O Holy Night revised; personal contextualization to this Christmas carol

  1. I like your rewrite. Far too often the simple message of love and acceptance that were the absolute heart of Jesus’ ministry are lost in the ocean of religious correctness. I’ve found this to be more an issue in the evangelical, fundamentalist movement than elsewhere. Catholics have a policy of ‘God loves the LGBT community, as long as the individuals in it never have an actual same-sex relationship’, but for the more hardline christians, same-sex attraction itself means there is something ‘wrong’ with a person and they are condemned.

    There is also a definite divisiveness between the different branches of christianity, which becomes immediately obvious when you’ve converted from one to another. It encompasses much more than homosexuality. Single mothers, divorced women, women who have had abortions (even to protect their lives or health), women who use contraceptives (even to treat a medical issue) the mentally ill, people with disabilities…all have been alienated by one type of christianity or another. The thing that really used to confuse me when I was christian was the loathing christians have for one another; the sense of ‘they do things differently from us – HERETICS!!’. Evangelicals/fundamentalists have a distinct hatred for all things Catholic and not only do they not understand the majority of what Catholics believe in regard to Mary, they outright lie about her role in the church. There was a revival at our church two years before I left that lasted a week. The guest pastor openly condemned Catholics every day that he was there. Our pastor agreed enthusiastically. I was completely turned off by it but I noticed that all around me people were loving it. It seemed so ridiculous to me, so in opposition to Jesus’ mandate that people love one another.

    How can christians love the LGBT community or anyone else when they don’t love or trust one another?

    Too late to make a long story short, you are absolutely right. The Us Vs. Them Paradigms you mentioned are alive, well, and continually active. There is indeed a piece of the puzzle missing in regard to how homosexuals are regarded within christianity. Sadly, however, it is not the only one. There are multiple empty places in the puzzle and it’s going to take tremendous effort to fill them.

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