The Christmas Star by Lynn Bywaters
In 1847, Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure, a commissionaire of wines in a small French town, was asked by his parish priest to pen a poem for Christmas mass. The poet was honored to share his talents with the church, so he used the Gospel of Luke as his guide and imagined witnessing the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Thoughts of being present on the blessed night inspired him. Later, moved by his own work, Cappeau decided that his “Cantique de Noel” was not just a poem, but a song in need of a master musician’s hand. Not musically inclined himself, he turned to one of his friends, Adolphe Charles Adams, for help. The son of a well-known classical musician, Adolphe had studied in the Paris conservatoire. Just three weeks later at a Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, the song was performed.
“Cantique de Noel” was wholeheartedly accepted by the church in France and the song quickly found its way into various Catholic Christmas services. Since that first rendition at a small Christmas mass in 1847, “O, Holy Night” has been sung millions of times in churches across the globe.