O Holy Night

The year I became a Christian, I attended my first Christmas cantata.    In the midst of the cantata, the choir sang O Holy Night.  I couldn’t remember ever hearing that particular song before.  I heard the words “in sin and error pining” and I felt the full weight of my sin.  While I was pondering this, the men in full voice rang in

Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;

Oh my!  How it stirred my heart!  How I felt the awesomeness of what Christ had done!

In the 1800’s someone sent in a few cents to the US Treasury Department.  The enclosed note read, “This is for payment for a reused postage stamp.  It wasn’t canceled so I pulled it off and used it again. The money is to ease my conscience.”  The US government, not knowing what to do with those few pennies, created teh Conscience Fund.  To date, that fund has received over five million dollars.

We all experience guilt at some time.  And nearly all of us react to it in a predictable manner.  We are filled with shame.  Most of us don’t have trouble knowing when we’re guilty.  It’s knowing what to do about that guilt that’s the problem.

  • pay attention to uncomfortable feelings.  Guilt is a signal that something is wrong.
  • Remember that everyone is human. Punishing yourself is useless.  Correct mistakes and move on.
  • If guilt feelings are a result of sin, ask God for forgiveness, accept His cleansing love, correct the misdeed if appropriate, and forget it.
  • Recognize that “telling all”can be a way of inflicting more punishment on yourself.  This only eases the sense of guilt for the moment and may put unfair stress on those who are listening.  Permanent relief from moral guilt comes from God’s forgiveness, not public confession.  In most cases, the scope of our confession should net exceed the scope of our sin.

We can deal with guilt and be sorry self-condemnation.  Paul says, “For Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow  of the world produces death.” (2 Cor. 7:10)

Christ didn’t come to condemn us and make us feel guilty.  While donations to the US Conscience fund may ease our minds temporarily, Christ offers to remove the guilt entirely and for entirely and for eternity.  He came to set us free from sin and guilt.  Fall on your knees!  Hear the angel’s voices!

O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!


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