Not a Silent Night
Read This Week: Luke 2
And shepherds were living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” – Luke 2:8-20 NIV
Silent Night is a beautiful and melodic Christmas song performed and sung every year in multiple iterations and settings. It was a musical collaboration of a priest and a school teacher, and the most recognizable and famous lines in the song are 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.
These words are so prosaic and lovely and paint a quiet, peaceful picture of the night Jesus was born. And while the theme of the song is accurate in its musings that the quietness of peace did reign that night, Luke 2 tells us that it was not a silent night after all. It had not been a quiet or silent lead-up to that night either.
The murmurings of scandal about Mary and Joseph’s relationship and situation were not silent. The voices of doubt and skepticism were no doubt heard. The pronouncement of the coming Messiah to Mary was not quiet, and neither was the angel’s hope and assurance that followed. Joseph’s obedience was loud and clear, and Mary’s song of joy and eternal fulfillment was anything but silent as she proclaimed the Magnificat.
Ceasar’s decree was not silent in its mandate and necessity for the prophecy to be fulfilled. Herod was not quiet in his violent warnings and desire to eliminate the perceived threat to his earthly authority and rule.
Even the open countryside was abuzz with activity and noise. Verses 9 and 13-14 show us the grand appearance of the angel of the Lord to the shepherds and the worship service that took place afterward:
An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified… Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
But there were some silent things that night. The baby Jesus’ cry in the dark rendered oppression silent. It forced hopelessness silent. It commanded evil to be silent. It spoke to lasting pain and called for it to be silent. It made spiritual lostness silent and quieted all the voices of doubt that the Messiah would never come.
See, good news makes it hard to keep quiet. The same should be true of us today. We must live out loud and proclaim the coming of Jesus Christ in a non-silent way. The message of Christmas should be on full display in our lives, even though the forces of this world seek to be a silencing mechanism to our witness. It is not a silent night when we celebrate and worship the God of the universe and the birth of the Savior all year long.
Happy Birthday, Jesus! Thank you Father God for giving us our Lord and Savior. We are so happy to celebrate Jesus’s birthday, our life with God and each other. It is a wonderful time to give and serve, as Jesus did. What an awesome example our Jesus is. May we be more like him in this coming year.
Amen to this, Ken! He is indeed the example for us to emulate and follow. As you challenged us, may we be filled with His Holy Spirit this coming year to live on mission and bring Him glory with our activities, words, actions, and the whole of our lives.
For me, it’s the most wonderful time of the year because we get to celebrate Jesus’ birthday! He is our gift from Father God. Thank you, Father God.
I see so many blessings in Luke 2 because Jesus came to bless us with salvation. We get to go to heaven one day and be with Him forever and ever and all our love ones that are there waiting for us. I love the part where the shepherds were praising God for all they heard and seen.
We too should be praising God always for all He has done for us. He came to set us free from our old life. Love you all and Happy Birthday to Jesus!
This is a really sweet Christmas song: https://youtu.be/oFK7Jy2kr-M
I love your heart and perspective in this post, Heidi. This line captures the essence of what I have been praying for and trying to keep in the forefront of my life this Christmas:
We too should be praising God always for all He has done for us. He came to set us free from our old life.
It is so difficult to be miserable, sad, frustrated, and defeated when we are grateful and most especially when we are grateful for Jesus and God’s gift of grace and salvation. Thank you for this Christmas truth and reminder.
This is what I got from God in reading Luke 2: “When Jesus was born, the first angel brought good tidings to the shepherds, who were viewed as social outcasts. As a class, they had bad reputations The angel announced the birth of a Savior, which is exactly what all of us needed. Jesus brought peace of heart, which is what we all long for.
The shepherds were the first to see the Lamb of God, which takes away our sins. The shepherds spread the good news, which amazed all who heard it. So you see, I, (God), work through all kinds of people and all kinds of events to accomplish My plan. You see Jesus, even as a baby, identifying with sinners, and also as he later did at His baptism, and later on the cross.”
What this said to me was Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He identified with me as a sinner, when He was born when He was baptized, and when He died on the cross. The fact that shepherds who were viewed as “social outcasts” were the first to see Him, reaffirms that even though I am a sinner, God can work through me and the events in my life, to fulfill His plan. I need to draw near to Him, walk in obedience, and continue to share the good news. Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Jesus!
I was really blessed by and so appreciate your interpretation of Luke 2 and the commentary that God gave you, Kathy. I relate to the implications of God choosing the shepherds to reveal and spread the good news of the Messiah. I believe this is a biblical, practical, and spiritual truth for our own lives. These lines are so powerful:
The shepherds were the first to see the Lamb of God, which takes away our sins. The shepherds spread the good news, which amazed all who heard it. So you see, I, (God), work through all kinds of people and all kinds of events to accomplish My plan.
An older, Southern pastor that I knew in years past used to say, “God can hit some mighty straight licks with some mighty crooked sticks.” Indeed He can. The Lord used the shepherds of old and He can work through and use us in the same way for His work and His glory.
Thank you, Jason, so much for your comments above. I liked the part about the Southern Pastor. I am excited that even though I am a sinner, I can still be used by God. Happy New Year! May 2022 bring you many blessings!
Thank you so much, Kathy! Happy New Year to you as well. Wishing and praying for God’s absolute best for you in 2022!
This week, I have a song to share from Luke 2 called “Glory”:
Glory, Glory, Glory to God in the highest
Our Savior was born in the town of David
Bringing joy and peace on earth.
We trust and believe in our Lord
Who will be by our side through it all.
Come all, come all, come to our Lord
He will be by our side through it all
Come all, come all, come to our Lord
He was born to save us all
Bringing peace, joy, and hope.
Glory, Glory, Glory to God in the highest
Our Savior was born. Amen.
Thank you, our Father for your Son, Jesus. He is our beautiful Savior.
What a beautiful and lovely song of praise and worship to God this Christmas season, Alma. Every line is cause for followers of Christ to rejoice in the Savior who was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died a substitutionary death on the cross, rose again on the 3rd day, and will come again.
After reading the lyrics that God gave you this week, one can’t help but be grateful and sing, Glory, Glory, Glory to God in the highest. Our Savior was born.