Out of the Abundance of the Heart: Live in Heavenly Peace

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

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.

(Mohr / Gruber)

One of the best-known Christmas songs of all time is “Silent Night.” I love it. I sing it. But like with so many favorite things, the familiarity sometimes beclouds the meaning – I don’t think about what I’m singing. Today as we sat down to lunch, I was humming it to myself when I was suddenly captivated by the first four words: “Silent night, holy night…” In the clamor of the restaurant – people talking, kids laughing, Christmas music playing, dishes clattering – I wondered if those words might be a foreign language to most of us today.

Silent night. If you live in town, you may have never experienced a truly “silent night.” I remember our first nights living in Upstate New York. We stayed in a house well out ot town. By midnight the place was pitch black. I mean no light. I literally couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. It was also silent. No cars. No music. No TV. No earbuds or cell phones. Only the occasional owl broke the silence.

It’s a worthy undertaking to find a quiet place. Jesus hit the earth in a stable in a small town well before neon. The star that illuminated the night had no artificial competition. The angel choir didn’t have to compete with the tha-bump of the car stereo in the lane. The shepherds had no earbuds. Distractions were minimal compared to our cacophonous environs. Quiet environment, quiet mind. Silent Night.

Holy night. We use the word “holy, in lots of ways. The base meaning is “different” or “separate.” In the Bible, it refers to God, and to those things places and people where He is present or that are specifically set apart for His use or pleasure. That first Christmas, whenever it was, was certainly different. God, having planned it before the foundations of the world, sent His only begotten Son to live in the earth as a human. The reason for His birth was that He might be a perfect sacrifice for the sins of fallen humanity. He came to pay your ransom and lead you back home to God. That, my friend, is holy. As the old disco song said, “Oh, what a night!”

As one of those who has said “Yes!” to God’s offer of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-10), I am part of His holy people (1 Peter 2:9). I carry His Presence (1 Corinthians 6:19) and I am set apart for His use. (Titus 2:14) Part of my recognition of this holy calling is to have specific times and places that are set apart just to commune with Him. It might not be at night, but it needs to be holy: different from the rest of my day and dedicated entirely to Him. It’s His time.

Scripture Reading: The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:35 NLT)

Here’s the Point: The Christmas season is a stressful time for many. It’s a busy time for just about everybody. It stirs up emotions, good and not. People get irritable, time flies, then its done and we clean up the wrapping paper and the tinsel, and go on about our business. This year, in the middle of it all, find a quiet place, set a special time, and let the Lord visit you. How about you sing with me the third verse of Silent Night and remember why you’re here. Let’s learn to live, not just sleep, in heavenly peace.

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

Merry Christmas!

Pastor Virgil Stokes

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