Everyone knows the words to this famous Christmas carol. During the holiday season you could hear this beautiful hymn sung over and over again in shopping malls, church services, park concerts – there is something so comforting, so beautifully seasonal about familiar Christmas songs.
Yet the words of this one carol have played repeatedly on my mind this particular year. SILENT night. HOLY night. All was CALM. It paints a picture, doesn’t it? A simple birth, in the most common of environments, under a starry sky….PEACEFUL. And I don’t know about you, but when I think of this holiday season for me and my family I would probably use words more like ‘busy’, ‘hectic’, ‘tiring’… to describe the schedule we keep during the month of December.
Think about it. When you bump into a friend at the shops, purchasing last minute Christmas gifts or a neighbour hurriedly backing out of their driveway to get to the school Christmas fair and you ask “How are you?”, I bet you’ve never received the response – “peaceful”. In the same way, in the midst of recent tragedy overseas, there will be hundreds of families in an otherwise sleepy town in Connecticut who will be experiencing everything but calm this Christmas. Dozens of children the world over in politically unstable and war torn countries like Syria and Afghanistan who’s night will be anything but silent. And even now, people are experiencing pain, not peace, in parts of Samoa and Fiji where violent storms have created chaos and ruin.
Christmas is a season of shared reality, when the empathy of God came to us in human form. It was on Christmas Day when God chose not to be separated from us, but to come down – Emmanuel – God WITH us. In the middle of busy-ness, in the middle of tragedy, or at the close of maybe your greatest year yet…Christmas is a poignant reminder that He ENTERS the middle of our circumstances. Christ chose to identify with us, come right into the middle of the broken things, the real issues of life and bring His sovereign peace, His unconditional love to a world in desperate need.
So this year, be reminded that God reached out to us, extends His peace to us and brings rest -His rest -to those searching for answers and even just to those of us who are running from one Christmas dinner to the next.
Don’t let the peace of God be elusive this year. Don’t allow the lights, the gifts, and the parties to mask the holiness of this season. I pray you know the fullness of what happened on that Silent Night and experience again this year, the reality that Christ the Saviour is born.