Silence is not golden in my mind, silence is scary. The main reason for that is silence is so unusual for me. I understand what it is to have silence and I am certain I have experienced it before, but it has been a while. In my house there are three boys, age 7, 4 and 2 and a 3 month old girl. For me, normal life involves a lot of noise. This time of year is especially obnoxious because all the windows are closed and the noise has no place to go but off the walls and into my head. It is not unusual for my wife and I to be sitting at the table talking while the boys roll their cars down the hallway, ramming them into the door at the end. Somehow we are able to communicate with that. I think it is a skill that I am certain many people really are jealous of. To help with the noise, we sometimes turn the radio on, which only makes them speak louder. Now, I am not complaining, but just want to show you where I am coming from on this. In my world, if it is quiet, something is terribly wrong. As a parent, if the kids are in the other room and I don’t hear anything I immediately go in there to see what is going on.
Noise is something that you just get used to having to deal with. This works out alright because there is very little quiet anywhere in the world. I have been thinking a lot about silence recently in light of the Christmas song ‘Silent Night.’ In fact, this concept has really been bouncing around in my head, along with the noise, as I try to really get a picture for what the original ‘silent night’ must have been like.
The night Jesus was born must have been somewhat normal for most people in Bethlehem. I mean, sure the town was alive with activity because of the census, but otherwise it would be just another night. And yet, away from the buzz of people, in the stillness of night, God left His throne and took on flesh. As people went about their daily life and busyness, the Savior was born right there. Can you imagine?
We know God did not keep this quiet for long. He sends a chorus of angels to shepherds out tending their sheep and the stillness of the night was interrupted by a heavenly chorus. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” – Luke 2:14 The message was received and they went to see what has happened and returned glorifying and praising God. Then of course there were the Magi who saw the star and came to worship this newborn “King of the Jews.” – Matthew 2:1 God got their attention and they are forever part of the story as a result.
Silence might be scary, but even more scary is the notion of God speaking and us not hearing it. If we get too focused on our own little world, we just might miss what God is doing right in front of us. What if the shepherds ignored the angels, or just weren’t willing to be bothered with it? What if the Magi ignored the star and didn’t come to worship Jesus. What if any of us, in the busyness of this Christmas season, miss out on the real gift of Jesus Christ because there is just too much noise? What if God wants to get your attention and use you for some purpose in His story, but your head is full of too much chaos to hear it? The only remedy is to take time to be still before God. I know that goes against everything within us and makes some people literally shake uncontrollably. I know there are long lists of things to do, but consider what scripture says.
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10
Noise will not go away, but we can find some quiet in it. Take time to turn off the noise and be still. Be still and rest knowing that He is still God in your life and loves you. No matter what has happened to you or where you are, be still and know He is God. Listen for the voice of the One who gave up His throne to die for our sins! I know it is hard to do but the silence will only prove to enhance our celebration of Jesus Christ as we spend time with Him.
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, Sleep in heavenly peace.