Silent Night: Let’s Not Make It Too ‘Silent’

Post a Comment » Written on December 24th, 2004     
Filed under: News
W. HARTFORD, CT (December 24, 2004)  – Editor’s note: In preparation for the  Christmas observance, Covenant Communications is sharing seven  devotionals that originally appeared in local church newsletters and are  being published here by permission. The following comes from pastor  Thomas VanDerMeid of Covenant Congregational Church.

By Thomas VanDerMeid

“Silent Night” is my favorite Christmas Carol.

It portrays in a beautiful way the quiet and humble birth of our Lord.  He came into this world largely without fanfare. There was no glitz and  no glamour. No media attention. No crowds swarming to see this amazing  event. Jesus’ birth occurs without any of the events that we associate with great moments in history.

It was a silent night with God in human form, sleeping in a borrowed  manger, in a lowly barn, in a little town called Bethlehem. Few people  knew that one of the greatest miracles of all time had just occurred.

But then it was as though heaven could contain its joy no longer. An  angel appears to shepherds and announces the birth of their savior and  tells them where to find the baby. And then the heavens open and a  multitude of angels appear (hundreds? thousands?) and begin to praise  God, saying, “Glory to God in the highest.” Were they singing it? How  many times did they repeat their praise? How beautiful and glorious was  their singing?

The shepherds hurry to Bethlehem to see for themselves. And when they  find Mary and Joseph what do they do? They tell everyone they can what  they have seen and heard. The silent night was silent no longer. Angels  singing. Shepherds witnessing. The Bible doesn’t tell us, but I imagine  the stable was never again quite so quiet. People must have come to see  this baby announced by angels.

When the shepherds finally leave to return to their flocks they did not  go quietly. We are told they returned praising and glorifying God for  all that they had seen and heard.

God often works in quiet and even silent ways. But it’s ironic and even  tragic that, at Christmas, the gospel is an almost silent witness to  what God has done. The sounds of this world urging us to spend and to  buy and to party often drown out the voice of God.

And our voices are often silent when it comes to matters of faith. We  are afraid to be a witness for the gospel. We are reluctant to talk to  others about God. We don’t want to be seen as someone who is trying to  convert people to our faith. But we can never convert anyone – only God  can do that. Our calling is simply to be a witness to what God has done  and is doing in this world.

Some approach this task as a great burden. But when you witness  something wonderful it is never a burden to tell others about it –  telling others is the most natural thing in the world. When your child  was born it wasn’t a burden to call friends and family with the news – it was something you couldn’t wait to do and in telling others it  added to your joy. When we see God doing something wonderful or  miraculous, we will want more than anything else to tell everyone we  know about it.

A witness just tells what they have seen and heard. So to be a witness  at home, school, work or out in the world means nothing more than to  speak about what you have heard and seen God doing.

So if you are having a hard time getting excited about telling others  about Jesus, maybe you need to do something to see for yourself what God  has done (like the shepherds did). Spend more time listening for what  God is doing and watching for the quiet but miraculous ways that God  enters this world to save it and bless it. And when you see and hear for  yourself what God is doing, the most natural thing in the world will be  to tell someone about it.

May your Christmas be more than silent this year.

Copyright © 2011 The Evangelical Covenant Church.

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