December 10 - Song
Every Christmas Eve Christians the world over gather together in darkness, light candles, and sing Silent Night. For many, it is as close as they can come to the manger and the joy of the Christ-child coming into the world.
But have you ever been around a newborn? Silence is the last thing you will find. It is also the last thing anyone would want when a child is born. The song, Silent Night, was obviously written by a man (Franz Gruber, 201 years ago) and isn’t so much about childbirth as about being present in the moment and the deep abiding focus that seems to slow time down and shut out distractions. We would do well to turn our attention to the baby lying in a manger. One day that child won’t be so still.
It’s ironic we spend so much of a child’s formative years coaxing them to walk and talk but then when they do, we want them to be quiet and stay still. Baby Jesus can almost be controlled. Coddled. Like all babies, he’s dependent. But most of the Bible talks about Jesus as an adult, and a divisive one at that. Silence is not what Jesus is ever about in his ministry.
Christmas brings with it this same tension. We desire peace, warmth, and comfort that soothes our chaotic souls. But when the Christ-child does come, he creates a whole lot of conflict on his way towards sleeping in heavenly peace. That isn’t to say that Jesus doesn’t desire peace. He does! The beauty of the song, Silent Night, is that it is a deep slow breath in a world that won’t stop for anything, it seems.
Our advice this Christmas is simple: be in the present moment. Whether your nights are silent or loud, may you find the Christ-child with you. Whether your nights are peaceful or chaotic, may Christmas bring you hope and peace. Don’t wait until Christmas Eve to experience this song. Here is a version that will surely feel like Christmas: