Ever think about the words to some of the Christmas songs we hear this time of year? I was thinking about Silent Night recently, in particular these well-known lyrics:
“Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is quiet. . .”
The song goes on to describe a very pregnant Mary and the birth of a newborn baby. It follows with descriptions of angelic praise and concludes with a rousing declaration of Jesus’ Lordship. Inspiring, to say the least.
As I was reflecting on these sweet lyrics, it struck me that nothing about that night was silent. Mary’s labour pains were probably not endured with a serene silence. (I’ve not had children myself, but I understand that women frequently become quite vocal during childbirth.)
Then we have the baby Jesus, freshly arrived into this world. I’m using my imagination here, but once again I find it hard to believe that Jesus was quiet when He was born. I’m led to believe that most babies cry loudly and passionately at the time of their birth.
The thing that strikes me the most is the telling of an angelic choir lifting their exultant praise to God. According to the Bible, it was quite a huge crowd of angels that showed up before the shepherds that night. Just imagine the sound as they began to sing:
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
And on earth peace to those on whom His favour rests.” (Luke 2:14 NIV)
I imagine the sound of their singing was thunderous, even deafening. It was fitting for the angels to sing for Christ that night, to declare His coming in glorious celebration. It is still fitting today for us to praise Him with all our might; not because He was a good man, but because He is the King of this world.
When I hear the Christmas carol Silent Night, I reconsider the familiar lyrics in my mind, in light of the angelic praise offered to God that night. In thinking about God’s efforts to cleanse us of sin and reconcile with us; the lengths He went to in sending His own Son; the fact that Jesus was not magically transported to earth as an instant Messiah, but was born, and grew, and lived like us; I am filled with a desire to praise Him.
So for me, Christmas is not a “Silent Night.” Yes, there are times in life when I pause in wonder and awe of God, and find I have no words to offer Him; there are moments of silent worship that can be just as genuine and pleasing to Him. He hears the prayer in it all.
In between those pauses, however, I find my heart and voice want to magnify Him. I want to give shape to the adoration I hold in my heart for Him alone. Just as I want to tell my loved ones that I love them, over and over, I want to tell God how much I adore Him.
I want to thank God for sending His Son that night. This Christmas I will rejoice aloud in all that He is and all He has done. I don’t know if I will ever be able to express all my gratitude and affection to Him. All I know is that I will give voice to my praise this Christmas. Wherever you are this Christmas, I invite you to join me in adoring Christ the Lord.