“How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given.” So goes the words to one of our most beloved Christmas carols. “O Little Town of Bethlehem” is a song that seems to come alive, especially on Christmas Eve. We can almost feel the stillness of the night air when the angels burst through with the good news proclaimed to frightened shepherds.
We can hear the rustling of animals that had been cleared away in a stable where Mary was giving birth. Or maybe, if we listen carefully enough, we can hear the cries of a newborn baby in the manger.
When God sent His greatest gift to earth, it was with no earthly fanfare and involved no royal receptions as accompanies rulers and national leaders today. No trumpets blew. No children danced. No gifts were brought. No speeches were made.
Hear it again… the silence. I have had to learn all over again, as a grandfather, to “hush.” No loud entries into the house. When McCail is with us, I slip in like a thief! If she’s sleeping we don’t want to wake her. I’ll often come in and find her rocked to sleep and laying silently on her Mamaw.
The gift of God came… in silence. In holy wonder. In angelic awe. But “how silently, how silently the wondrous gift was given.” Gone are the days of silent gifts. Most of our children don’t get excited over toys that help them be quiet. Every parent wants them. Every child wants… NOISE. Something that talks, squeaks, squeals or makes explosive sounds… or more, something that they can talk into! But silence… gone are the days!
But God chose for the arrival of His Son to be greeted in the stillness of a Galilean night… in a manger separated from the clamor of a crowd. In stillness. In silence.
“Shhhhh… the baby’s asleep!”
FOR MEDITATION: But when the fullness of time had arrived, God sent forth His Son, born of a virgin, born under the Law, that He might redeem those who were under the law so that we might receive adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4-5