December 23: Silent Night
The eighth track on our new Advent/Christmas album is another medley of traditional Advent hymns, and we are going to be reflecting on two them individually as we finish out these devotional reflections. First up, “Silent Night” …
Round yon virgin, mother and child, holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace
Silent night, holy night; shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar, heavenly hosts sing, “Alleluia”
Christ, the Savior, is born, Christ, the Savior, is born, Christ, the Savior, is born!
Silent night, holy night; Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face, with the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus Lord at thy birth, Jesus Lord at thy birth, Jesus Lord at thy birth!
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
Devotional: Karina Venable
Several years ago, in the light of the moon, my sons decided to proclaim our Savior’s birth. John stood in the middle of our back yard, holding wind chimes in his little hand, and James ran circles around him, clutching his cup of fruit smoothie, while they both belted out Silent Night. Maybe you’ve seen the mugs that say, “All Mama wants is a Silent Night.” I don’t think this is what the cup-makers had in mind.
Whether you’re a mama or not, I am sure you know what it is to want some peace. I imagine that is why Silent Night is the Christmas carol sung in all circles, whether Jesus is worshiped or not. “Silent night, holy night, All is calm, all is bright…” The sweet lilting melody soothes us like a lullaby, and we welcome the imagery of a calm night. We want rest. Like a precious baby sleeping peacefully in his mother’s arms? Yes, please.
All people want peace, and even Christians try to get it as the world can give it: turning up distractions, cancelling noise, avoiding certain people, passing legislation to solve problems, and shutting ourselves in our bathrooms. (Why can’t bathroom doors be thicker?) But God has given us Peace that defies circumstances. And every year we sing about that night when the Prince of Peace was born amid a stressful situation. He came humbly as a baby born to a poor virgin, to be our King. He came to save us from our sins, yet did not save himself. He is the light of men in a dark world.
Isaiah foretold of a world at peace … one in which a nursing child will play over the hole of a cobra and remain unharmed. Lions will eat grass, and wolves will dwell with lambs. What is this world Isaiah wrote of—a fairy tale? Will angry parents not hit their children, will men not leave their wives, will women be content with their lot, and will we all finally get along? The scripture says there will be no hurt or destruction because the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord (Hab. 2:14). It sounds impossible.
But Christians believe in impossible things.
When Jesus prepared to leave this world, he said to his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled …” But he didn’t leave us as orphans. The Father sent us His Spirit, and made His home with us, in us. We can be sure that just as the virgin bore a Son, of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end. As we listen to Silent Night this Christmas and imagine the serene scene, we can remember that Christ will return. Therefore we too can sleep in heavenly peace, as Christ did, with the perfect knowledge that, even as a vulnerable baby born in poverty, he was held and loved by His Father.
Coloring Sheet: Megan Willin
Members in our church have created coloring pages, which are designed for all ages and artistic ability, as a way to help you further engage with the lyrics and music. We invite you to slow down and meditate on the beauty and depth of this Advent season.Download PDF