Last week, I took Jackson to see Matt sing in our city’s Art Chorale Christmas concert. Boy, was he excited, and everyone sitting around us knew when Jackson’s daddy was singing, as he had several solos that evening. About half way through the concert, the entire audience was led in singing Christmas carols together. We all stood to begin singing “Silent Night,” and as I looked around the audience and listened to the voices ringing around me, my heart grew heavy. So many sang this carol without expression, without joy, without hope. This song is so familiar, even those who know its true meaning (including me) often sing it by rote rather than with adoration for Christ.
In reality, I wonder if that night really was silent, when Christ was born. So many sounds must have echoed that night. Desperate knocking at doors, rejection, rushing into the stable, animals roused, moans of childbirth, cries of a newborn, an angel delivering good news for all men, shepherds gasping in wonderment, heavenly hosts stretching across the sky praising God and giving Him glory, quick feet running to Bethlehem, and changed outcasts bowing in worship to their newborn king.
Yet, the peace that filled lives, that calmed beating hearts, to know that Jesus was the Messiah, the One they had long expected, echoed, too. The soft sounds of a precious child held close by his mother, the loving songs she might have sang as she rocked him to sleep, those gave hope of a promise so much bigger than she.
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.
And as we sang these words, I began to pray. Oh, that those around me, that every person in that room would know Jesus, and they would never be the same after encountering his love, and his peace.
Silent night, holy night. Son of God, love’s pure light. Radiant beams on thy holy face, with the dawn of redeeming grace. Jesus, Lord, at thy birth. Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.
Redeeming grace at Christmas…now that is a sound we all need to hear! It is a sound that needs to be shared: a message for every person, for all time, that love’s pure light came to save us.