O Holy Night was originally written as a poem. In 1843, in a small town in South France, the church organ had just been renovated and had finally become operational again. To celebrate this joyous occasion, the priest of the church asked a local wine merchant and poet to write a Christmas poem. The poet titled the poem, “Midnight, Christians.” The poem reflects on the birth of Jesus as humanity’s redemption.
Shortly after the poem was written, French composer Adolphe Charles Adam composed the music to go along with the poem. The song premiered in the same city in Southern France in 1847 by opera singer Emily Laurey. The song was translated to English in 1855.