Advent 2014 – Christmas Eve

Silent night! Holy night! All is calm, all is bright, 'Round yon virgin mother and Child! Holy Infant, so tender and mild, Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace.   A bit of history of the song, “Silent Night”…   Written in 1818 by Pastor Josef Mohr and the church organist, Franz Gruber, “Silent Night” was sung for the first time among a small group of congregants of St. Nicholas Church in Austria, at their Christmas Eve Service. A series of random events propelled this song’s popularity across the country, and eventually the world. It all started with a broken organ at St. Nicholas Church that was repaired by a well-known organ builder, Karl Mauracher. He heard “Silent Night” played and asked to share it with his village. Among his townspeople were two famous families of singers, the Rainers and the Strassers, who eventually sang the now well-known carol for King Frederick William IV of Prussia. He enjoyed the song so much that he insisted his cathedral choir sing it every Christmas Eve. Forty-five years later, in 1863, “Silent Night” was translated into English.   Have you ever thought about the words of this simple Christmas carol?   Silent…Holy…Calm…Bright…Peace…these words come to mind when we picture the night that Jesus was born in a stable. But it was not silent because Mary and Joseph were at a 5-star hotel or sterile hospital room. And it was not calm because Mary had taken birth classes and was prepared for childbirth with her midwife by her side. And it was not peaceful because Mary had the unconditional support of her family and friends back at home. In fact, from an earthly perspective, Mary and Joseph were in a difficult, unknown, scary place in their lives. Their future plans were unknown and unsure. BUT…there was Jesus. He was (and is) God Incarnate, Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, Provider, The Great Physician, Holy One, and God with Us. Jesus was with them. His presence surrounded them. This God-baby was Mary and Joseph’s calm in the uncertainty. His holiness permeated the darkest of fears bringing peace and quiet rest. Jesus was brighter than all of their worries, silencing the angst.   Jesus. He will do the same for me. My busy-crazy can be calmed and swept away into peaceful holiness. If I will stop for a moment and ask Him, I know He will give me quiet rest for my weary heart. Christmas can be a whirlwind of gatherings, shopping, eating, presents, traveling, more eating, more presents, and finally, exhaustion. My soul is left wondering what just happened. Did I see Jesus this Christmas?   My prayer is that you will join me in slowing down to find heavenly peace this Advent season.