Silent Night. The most famous Christmas song of all-time. The lyrics of this song started as a poem written in the early 19th century by an Austrian priest. At the time the little village on the Salzach River was split with half going to Bavaria and half going to Austria in the same year the poem was written. Today the village on the border of Germany and Austria has around 5,500 residents nestled on the edge of the Austrian Alps. It’s a small village in a small European country.
So how does a priest in a small Austrian village pen the words to the most popular Christmas song of all-time? Well I guess the melody helps a bit. Mostly, in my opinion, it’s the words. It’s the message. Short and sweet. The message of Christmas.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
This is how I picture the scene. Silent. Calm. Bright. Tender. Mild. The presence of a Holy infant. One meaning of the word holy is awe-inspiring. In this way infants are holy in general. Few living things generate the emotional attachment shown in feelings like an infant. Sleep in heavenly peace. Heavenly. Peace. Heavenly can be supremely delightful. Peace, among other things, is a calm and quiet state, free from disturbances or noise. Baby Jesus, mother Mary, sleep in a supremely delightful, calm and quiet state, free from any disturbance. I think that is beautiful. What a picture it paints. It’s Christmas morning, the Son has been born. Rest. We in reverence, would be better off to pause now and again to think on these words, this meaning, and drink in the message. Let the calm, let the peace wash over you. Smile and feel better for it. Share the Word.Silent night, holy night! Shepherds quake at the sight Glories stream from heaven afar Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia! Christ, the Saviour is born Christ, the Saviour is born
I look on this as the awesome night display allowing the shepherds to find that tiny manger. Imagine the stillness of that night, the pre-dawn hours, and then the glorious sights and sounds erupt from the heaven’s. I too, would quake.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
God gave us the first ever Christmas gift, his Son. The reason for every Christmas over the last 2000 + years. It will always be the reason. Don’t forget it. We take; we hurry; we worry; we wrongfully place importance on ourselves; we overlook the simple, the beautiful, the obvious, in the name of the Christmas season. The greatest gift has already been given. We need not focus on the material things that come to the forefront of our focus this time each year. Gifts that are things, given to one another are great, and we should count our blessings. Gifts aren’t always things, and things can’t be taken with us when the roll is called up yonder. Focus on the reason, not the things. Give of your time. Give of your own gifts that God has blessed you with. Give of your self. Give gifts for the right reasons.
Love’s pure light. What a great combination of words. Love in its truest form is about as pure as it gets to begin with. Light makes the world function. Our entire ecosystem thrives on light. Light is used to lead when all else is dark. Our light was given to us that first Christmas morning. There is no reason short of our own imperfections to ever be spiritually lost. There is a light to follow and it’s up to you and I to follow. Nobody can stop us.
Dawn of redeeming grace. The word dawn carries a meaning that I think we all get. Maybe it’s too early for us to be awake, up and about, but we all know it means a day anew. A fresh start. Opportunity. Out with the old, in with the new. Redeeming is a great word, meaning compensating for faults or flaws. Thank you Lord for your redeeming grace. I know it’s not easy to love me with all my faults and flaws. I have talked about grace in a previous post, Sunday Series – Amazing Grace. Infinite love, mercy, favor, and goodwill shown to mankind by God. Wow! Love, mercy, favor, and goodwill shown to us by God, with a design in compensation for any faults or flaws we have, given to us in amounts that cannot be measured. If that’s not a reason to get past our own hang-ups, our fear of unworthiness, our carefully thought out excuses for why we can’t pursue love’s pure light, the Way, the Truth, then we truly are trying not to.
I think it’s worth noting the last lines of the song. Jesus, Lord, at thy birth. There’s only one Jesus. There are and have been many lords. But there is only one Lord. And He was Lord at His birth. There was no growing into a title given to him by another human being who was created in the same image. He is Lord, He was Lord, He was born Lord. He was not born of any royalty we can relate to. His birth was a gift to us all, He was Lord to a heavenly throne. The only throne worthy of bended knee. This gift, overwhelming power and greatness, came to us here on earth on that first Christmas, a silent night.
I have shared my thoughts on this song, this message, this meaning. As I sit here listening to various versions of the words being sung I can’t help but think of reverence and passion. Many have sung its words and I love when the words are sung with passion and conviction. I may be the only person I know that has the band Manowar in my Christmas playlist, but, to me, they sing a great, passionate version of Silent Night. There are so many versions of the song, like this Silent Night. No matter what your favorite version might be, this season is still all about the first Christmas, a silent night. Sometime on Saturday night, or maybe even in the first morning hours, I will sit in the dim glow of Christmas lights, in silence, and pray. I will enjoy a calm and quiet state, free from disturbances or noise, and I will think on the Lord Jesus and the meaning of Christmas. And in doing so, my Christmas will be that much better. I can’t wait for Silent Night.