One of my favorite Christmas memories growing up was going to our church’s Christmas Eve service. It ended with us lighting candles, singing “Silent Night” and departing in silence at midnight. One particular year, I was driving to my parents’ after the service. It seemed the whole town was asleep. I saw very few other cars and I drove in silence the entire way. It was very peaceful and very holy.
Was the night that Christ was born really silent? Bethlehem was overflowing.
Every inn in the city was full. I used to live in a small, rural town of about 2000. Once a year, there was a huge arts and craft drive that would bring in 10,000 visitors. When a small town has several times it’s population visiting, it is never quiet! We can’t forget that Jesus was born in a manger. There were donkeys, sheep, goats, possibly chickens. It is hard to believe that it would have been silent.
Maybe, the whole world fell silent and entered into peace to welcome the Christ child. Jesus could calm the storms and walk on water, a little quiet would be nothing for him! Or maybe, Jesus was born into a loud, noisy world. Babies crying, animals braying, a city overflowing with people. Maybe, that is the point. This perfect child was born into a noisy, flawed, broken world. Maybe that is the point of Christmas, that God entered into a noisy, flawed, broken world to redeem it. It may not have been a silent night, but no doubt it was a holy night!
Almighty God, on this day we prepare to finally welcome the Christ child. We welcome him into a world that is dirty, broken, and loud. Just as he came to redeem this world, help us to further your kingdom here on earth until he comes again. Amen
Rev. Chris Deacon is the pastor of the United Parish of Bowie, a joint UCC/PC(USA) congregation in Bowie, MD. He is also the author or “Louder than Words.”
©2018 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group. This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.