Silent Night

And she (Mary) brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2:7).

On Christmas night I share my favorite sacred Christmas song with you, Silent Night. Like O Holy Night I have memories of hearing Silent Night from my very first memories. I absolutely love the song; its melody and above all it’s message which is most similar to O Holy Night; both of these carols are the finale to the message of O Come, O Come Emmanuel. I have five different versions of Silent Night on my iPod and could easily have more. In O Come, O Come Emmanuel the announcement is told of the Son of God coming to Earth. In O Holy Night and Silent Night the coming of the Son of God is completed in the birth of Jesus on that night in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago.

As I think about what the Bible has to say about the first Christmas night and what we know about childbirth the term silent night is a paradox. On one hand the night was silent as a king, the King of Kings, was born in a lonely stable. Imagine the hustle and bustle of our Christmas times today to only the sounds of sheep and possibly a donkey or two. The night was silent in another way. Israel was waiting for the Messiah to deliver them from the political rule of the Romans yet Christ came to family with no servants. He would obtain no college degree; He would lead no army (though kinds feared him); He won no military battles. As the world counted power then and now, Christ was born in the quietness of humanity.

For what we know, Mary who was about fifteen or sixteen years old had no nurse, no midwife; she birthed the baby with only the help of Joseph. While she labored with travail in the silence of the stable with only the occasional sound of a lamb the screams of her labor surely filled the couple’s solitary air. Yet, there likely was more noise, albeit not to the human ear. The forces of Satan were unleashed that night to keep Emmanuel from being born. Satan did not want Jesus to be born because of the promise that God gave in Genesis 3:15: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy (Satan’s) head, and thou shalt bruise his heel and the promise of Isaiah 9 among many others. Heaven triumphed over hell that night but we know from Matthew 2 that Satan did not rest and moved Herod to attempt to kill Jesus after his birth. [Ironically, Satan tried to prevent Jesus’s death years later which would have robbed God of a worthy spotless sacrifice for his creation, man.]

So we can vision that the night that Christ was born was a silent night but also a painful night, a night of battle and a night of triumph and celebration by Heavenly host. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men (Luke 2:10-14). It was a silent night, a holy night; a royal night as the King of Glory came to Earth to live with us, die for us and redeem those that placed their trust in him, both Jewish and gentile: For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:12-13).

Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore (Heb 7:25-28).

The words to Silent Night were written by Joseph Mohr; the music was composed by Franz Gruber. The lyrics were translated into English in 1859 by John Freeman Young. Today, Silent Night is the most widely recognized Christmas carol around the world. The history of Silent Night has been detailed though some folklore still remains. To read more, visit this site.

Merry Christmas to each of you!

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.

Silent night, holy night,
Shepherds quake at the sight;
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born!

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.

Silent night, holy night
Wondrous star, lend thy light;
With the angels let us sing,
Alleluia to our King;
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born!

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