Tag Archives: silent night

Silent Night | Seeking the Savior Amid the Noise of Christmas

15 Dec

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Christmas comes the same time each year—but does it always seem to just blaze by at lightning speed and go careening off into January before you get a chance to breathe it in? Perhaps it seems like the more Christmases you experience, the more Christmastime feels like a striving for a feeling—that warm, peaceful feeling you’ve always associated with the birth of Jesus. Yet Christmas comes faster and faster each year, and the feeling you’re so desperate to feel just seems to sweep in and out, muffled by the whirlwind of gifts, lines at the mall and Christmas parties you arrived late for. So you buy tickets to Christmas concerts and holiday expos, penciling in time to get some Christmas in your life before the 25th arrives. But these efforts are in vain. They offer a short flicker of the feeling, but it is quickly snuffed out once you re-enter your life, where the bills are waiting to be paid, dinner is waiting to be made, the dishes are waiting to be washed and, of course, Christmas gifts are waiting to be be bought. Perfect gifts that will make everyone you love feel special and make you look like a thoughtful friend—not like you’re trying too hard or anything, but not like you’re just cheap and in a rush either. It’s a tough balance to master.

Before you know it, it’s New Years Day and you’ve got to figure out how you’re going to take down the lights, when to disassemble the tree, where in the world you’re going to put all the new stuff you got, and when you’re going to have a few free hours to go back to the dreaded shopping center to make your returns and exchanges. Maybe you feel a bit of remorse for never really obtaining the feeling, but it’s not something you can dwell on. It’s a new year—you’ve got to try to make some feasibly obtainable resolutions, lose that holiday weight and get on with life. You made it through the season, though, and maybe things will be better next year when your life is a little more together.

But we all know that won’t be the case. Life is unpredictable. New seasons bring with them new joys and sorrows, and by the time Christmas rolls around again who knows what your laundry list of things keeping you busy will look like?

The trick isn’t to put the joy and peace of Christmastime on the back burner until all of your duties are accomplished. You can’t push the manger aside until you feel like you’ve done enough to rest in the promises of a silent night. There will always be more to do. Consumerism and our own self-induced societal expectations do an excellent job of drowning out the cries of the newborn king with the ringing of jingle bells and the stampeding of shoppers. The peace of Jesus is unlikely to be found amid such madness. Expecting that Christmas feeling to overwhelm you while you’re caught in life-altering traffic trying to get out of a packed-out parking lot is naive at best.

Jesus made his entrance into the world quietly and discreetly. The greatest gift ever given was given on a silent night two thousand years ago, in a barn, to an audience of poor shepherds. 

Try to bask in that simplicity for just a moment. The God who gave us that gift is not a God of grandiose, complicated expectations. He is a God who had every ability to give this gift in an elaborate, over-the-top experience for the whole world to see, but instead He sent his son to a little-known couple traveling to their hometown by donkey. The gift was delivered in the deep stillness of a silent night. Even the grandest part of the story, the choir of angels declaring his birth, was only revealed to a group of shepherds watching their flock in the night.

The promise of Christmas is the same today. It can’t be achieved by constant striving for more Christmasy experiences. It can’t be put off until a more convenient time comes around. It is here, now, in the stillness of a quiet and receptive heart. It is here when you allow it to bubble up inside of you until it spills over into everything you touch. It’s here when you slow down, give up your striving and simply ask for Jesus to meet you in this place at this time.

He’s waiting for you to wait for Him—expectantly, joyfully, with all the hope and anticipation of that first Christmas.

Wait for him in these last few days of Advent. Allow him to join you in your waiting, to point your heart in the direction of the stable. Let him show you the beauty of his gift—the only gift that really matters when the blur of December fades and gives way to the new year. Be still and receive it.

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