Hello!!!! I hope you had the opportunity to read the blog from Day 1. If not, I would encourage you to take a look at the entries from our Take Five team. Last week we discussed some of our favorite things about Christmas. This week we are going to discuss and explore our favorite Christmas hymn.

The hymn I chose is “Silent Night.“   If you have ever attended a Christmas Eve service, you have probably participated in a candlelight vigil. The preacher finishes his or her Christmas message and candles are distributed to each and every churchgoer.  The church lights are lowered, and darkness fills the air. A single flame is lit in the sanctuary and passed from person to person.  After a few short moments, the entire church is filled with flickering flames. Looking around, it is a truly serene and beautiful atmosphere. Once the candles are lit, the familiar notes of “Silent Night” flow from the worship band. The result is a wonderfully peaceful moment in time. 

The atmosphere created by the words of “Silent Night” creates a similar effect. Let’s take a moment and break down this beautiful song, verse by verse.

First, let’s take a look at the title, “Silent Night.”

Contrary to the title, that night in Bethlehem was anything but silent on the night Jesus was born. “At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.” (Luke 2:1, 3-7) (NLT). The entire town was completely occupied, there was not a hotel room left to be found.  The only option the expecting couple had was the stable of an innkeeper who had compassion on them. Mary and Joseph made their way to a barn to seek shelter for the night.

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

The first verse of the song was written to describe the moments after a child is born   If you’ve have had the privilege of experiencing the birth of a child; it is the most incredible blessing in the world. There is a moment, immediately after the birth, that transitions from urgency, noise, and chaos to an incredible feeling of serenity–the moment when all the screams and commotion are transformed into joy and peace. It’s the moment when the newborn is laid on the mother’s chest and tears of joy flow from the parents’ eyes. The long awaited child is here, the bonding between the mother and child has begun.  The room filled with doctors and nurses soon clears and the exhausted mother and child are allowed to finally rest and usually fall asleep in each other’s arms.  What an incredible moment in time!  There is a peace and tranquility that is present that is hard to describe; it just has to be experienced. 

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight!
Glories stream from heaven afar;
Heavenly hosts sing Al-le-lu-ia!
Christ the Savior is born!
Christ the Savior is born!

The second verse portrays the announcement of the birth of Jesus to the shepherds. “That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” (Luke 2:8-11) (NLT). Imagine how frightening this moment must have been. The night is dark. The only sounds to be heard are the animals and the crickets. Then, out of the blue, the angels of the Lord light up the sky with glory and song.  I don’t know about you. I’ve never seen an angel, and while I’m sure they are beautiful, this would have scared the living daylights out of me.  I’m sure they let out a few screams and yelps. Once they regained their composure and gathered themselves, they were greeted with the greatest news in the history of mankind. These lowly shepherds were the first to be told that the Savior of the world, Jesus, was born on this day. In just a few moments, the shepherds went from fear and panic to joy and exaltation. This exact thing takes place when we accept Christ as our Savior.  Our life goes from out of control and fear to restoration and peace with the Father. 

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth

The final verse tries to depict the image of the precious baby Jesus lying in the bed of hay; His face so innocent and full of the glory of God.  There is nothing more precious than a sleeping baby. Their calmness and sweetness are reflected in their peaceful existence. The very last line, “With the dawn of redeeming grace,” points directly to the upcoming amazing grace still to come.

Friends, “Silent Night” is more than a song to sing during a Christmas Eve service.  The words of this song bring joy and hope to a world looking for salvation.  Next time you hear the words of this beautiful song, try to envision yourself gazing into the sweet, innocent face of the baby Jesus. Look at His radiant face and thank Him for what He was born to do. He was brought into this world to die for our sins and offer us salvation.  If you honestly take a moment and let that sink in, you will be filled with thankfulness and joy.  I pray that the words of this blog and the analysis of this song bless your life.  Lyrics are so powerful and if you let the words of this song soak in, you will soon be filled with the joy experienced by those shepherds.  Christ the Savior is born! Hallelujah!!!!!

Please join us next week as we continue to prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord. Have a great week and I hope you join us again.

CHALLENGE…

  • If you have participated in a Christmas Eve Candlelight Service please share what your experience was like? Did you find it meaningful? Why?
  • Both Dave and Kyle (in Tuesday’s blog post) wrote about “Silent Night”. Why do you think that this is such a popular song? What stands out to you? The words? The melody? The meaning?
  • Spend a few minutes quietly listening to thus sing and meditating on it’s words. https://youtu.be/h8lJWj3R7ng

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