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.