Silent Night?

christmas night

It was most certainly anything but a Silent Night!

Soldiers were marching through the streets of Bethlehem – trying their best to control the restless crowds of people who had come there to be counted. People were busy gathering their animals – because, in First Century Bethlehem, people kept their animals inside their homes at night, so that they wouldn’t be stolen. People were scrambling to find a place to sleep, while others had dinner. And then, a woman who was ready to deliver her child appeared in the midst of the chaos.

Chaos often surrounds Christmas, doesn’t it?

We’ve been watching our doorsteps in the last few weeks – because the news has been filled with stories about Christmas gifts that disappeared shortly after they were left in front of a home. People are traveling long distances to return to the places where they were born and raised – while other people are preparing for guests. Little children are expecting a pile of gifts from parents who are already struggling to pay their VISA bills. Many people flock into churches on Christmas Eve – while others simply stay at home to feast on holiday treats – because Christmas has been transformed into something very different by American culture.

And then, there’s a big interruption. A Child is born and the busyness of the evening is interrupted. The heavens are opened wide, and the songs of the angels announce that something BIG has happened. And then, perhaps just a little bit more than an hour after the whole thing began, it’s over and people are left to think about what it all means as they return to their normal routines.

This year’s Christmas Eve message, “Silent Night?” , lifts-up what has always been the greatest challenge of Christmas.

Will we return to our lives after Christmas as people who have found a renewed sense of peace, or will we simply continue to rehearse the long lists of worries and concerns that consume us?

Will we walk away from Christmas with a deeper sense of God’s love and embrace, or will we continue to listen to the people who tell us that folks who have hurt us don’t deserve to be forgiven?

Will we return to our lives after Christmas with a sense of peace and goodwill for all of God’s people, or will we continue to allow ourselves to be convinced that it’s OK for people who can’t afford health insurance to lose everything that they own because of an illness?

Will we walk away from Christmas this year with a deeper sense of the peace that we can find and with a renewed sense of God’s presence in our lives – in our families – in our churches – and in our world or will we simply return to routines as if nothing’s happened in the last few weeks?

It was most certainly anything but a Silent Night!

Christmas changes our lives and our perspectives. Christmas invites us to experience a deeper sense of God’s peace and God’s presence in our lives.

How will you be changed by that?

How will you be different tomorrow morning?

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