Silent Night

I was thinking about the carol Silent Night the other day.  It’s a beautiful lullaby that you might sing to your brand new infant son on the night of his birth, but I’m not sure how true to life it is to the real story of Jesus’ birth.

If you read the story of Jesus’ birth according to the gospel of Luke, it sounds like it was anything but a silent night.

I had a baby once or twice.  Twice.  You don’t forget those experiences.  I had doctors and medicine and anything I could need.  Mary was giving birth under less than optimal circumstances.  I don’t know if she had her mother with her.  I don’t know if they called in a midwife.  But I do know that very few people have ever gone through labor in silence.

Once the baby is born, if they are healthy, they take their first breath and test their lungs with a scream of protest to the cold evening air.

Then there is the multitude of visitors that come in and ooo and aaah over the precious baby’s cheeks.

In Mary’s case, there are heavenly hosts singing and smelly strangers stopping by and then running off to invite the whole town over to see the newborn king.

It’s just hard for me to believe that there was anything calm or silent about this tremendous event.

But when the baby is all clean and tightly wrapped in a blanket and the visitors are all gone.  You do get a small moment before exhaustion sets in of peace and quiet.  It’s in that moment that you hold that baby close.  You breathe in the scent of his precious head and thank God for a healthy baby.

You pray ardently for God’s wisdom and blessing to follow you as parents as the sweet baby grows into the man he will become. In those silent, calm moments of the night, you sing your baby to sleep with a lullaby like Silent Night.  Praying he’ll sleep in heavenly peace (for at least 6 hours).

Because Mary was a real life person I can only imagine that the day Jesus was born was similar to the birth stories I’ve heard and experienced myself.  But maybe her story mirrors our experience of the holiday season.

Christmas is such a spectacular event you want to celebrate!  You fill every waking moment with Christmas music and festivities.  It’s a season you look forward to all year long, but it’s anything but calm and silent.

I pray that there are moments in this season where you can find peace and quiet.  After the  house is clean and decorated, the cookies are baked and cooled, the gifts are wrapped and under the tree, I pray that you hold your babies close and kiss their sweet heads.  Pray for peace and wisdom to follow you throughout the year.  And remember a baby that was born over 2,000 years ago; Son of God, love’s pure light.  Thank God for the dawn of redeeming grace and coming new year.  And sleep in heavenly peace.

The Most Beautiful Sound

When I was in labor with Asher, I got an epidural and expected things to move smoothly and painlessly from there, just like it did with Isaac.  Unfortunately, it slowed the whole birthing process down, so they let the pain meds wear off.  I think Isaac was born with Coldplay in the background so the first thing he heard was Chris Martin singing and piano keys playing.  The first thing Asher heard when he was born was probably one loud yell from his mommy…

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When Isaac was placed on my chest, he immediately started peeing in my face. The first thing I said when he was born was something along the lines of: “A little help here?!”  When Asher was placed on my chest, he let out a faint yet beautiful cry.  I remember my first words when he was born: “That’s the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard.”

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I loved my babies with an unconditional love from the moment I first saw their faces. From the moment I first heard their cries, there was not a sweeter sound on this planet.

Then they started telling me they loved me.  Asher would tell me he had a secret and then whisper in my ear, “I love you.”  He still does that often to me.  It’s my favorite secret.  Is there a better sound than hearing those three words?  Don’t get used to hearing those words.  Don’t shrug them off.  When someone tells you they love you, pay attention.  It is a beautiful moment… every time.

This Christmas season has been filled with music.  Asher’s teacher gave him the Michael Bublé Christmas CD and we’ve been listening to it and singing along for weeks now.  Asher sang Silent Night in his preschool performance and played the hand bells to We Wish You a Merry Christmas excellently. Isaac had a performance at school the week before Christmas.  He was proud of himself and I was so proud of him!

One of my favorite moments this Christmas season was taking Isaac caroling with me.  He video taped my 10th grade small group as we sang to a group of retired folks.  He got bored pretty quickly and wanted to go home.  But on the ride there, Isaac and I practiced our Christmas carols.  I gave him a song sheet that he can now read and we sang together songs that have been sung for a hundred years.

Asher has been singing Christmas carols around the house too.  He sings Gloria in Excelsis Deo beautifully and it often merges with Chris Tomlin’s “I Will Follow.”  I think all of the Glooo o o o o os turn into the “oh”s of Tomlin’s song in his head. Whenever the house gets quiet and no one is paying attention, Asher’s been singing Silent Night to the dog.  I’ve caught him on multiple occasions when he didn’t think I was listening.  When he noticed that I was listening, he got louder.

Isaac got to sit in church with us on Christmas Eve and standing next to him, hearing him sing in his distinct small voice (the only time he has ever had a small voice) just melted my heart.  I struggled not to drop everything and pick my big 6 1/2 year old boy up and hold him tight the whole service.

As time goes by and boys grow and favorites change, I think this favorite may stick for a while:

Hearing my boys sing praises to their God.  It’s not perfect, some of the words and notes are wrong, but the heart of it makes it the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard.