During this Christmas season, I’ve been thinking . . .why is silence so often part of Christmas?It appears in many of our Christmas Carols.Indeed, it is part of our celebration tonight –we are not ending with the Hallelujah Chorus;we are ending in quietness, singing Silent Night.
– Well, I have come up with two reasonsfor this theme of silence in regard to Christmas.1. God Doesn’t Need Fanfare to Do His Work.Oh, there are some timeswhen God puts on a cosmic extravaganza.But his most personal revelations, have not been . . .in the strong wind which rips mountains apart,in the earthquake which shakes the earthin the fire which rages . . .But in a “still small voice” which whispers in the silence –In a Baby humbly born, not a King coming with his army.So, it is appropriate that we sing:How silently, how silently,The wondrous gift is given!So God imparts to human heartsThe blessings of His HeavenAnd . . .Good Christian, fear: for sinners herethe silent Word is pleading.Or, as Cutzi reminded us Sunday:You Could’ve come like a mighty stormWith all the strength of a hurricaneYou could’ve come like a forest fireWith the power of Heaven in Your flameBut You came like a winter snowQuiet and soft and slow . . .
God does not need fanfare to do His work.Then, I think of a second reason for the silence.2. God Holy Presence Always Leaves Us Dumbstruck.In the birth of Jesus –in the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us –The world is confronted by God’s holy presence:His absolute othernessHis absolute purityHis unadulterated goodness, grace, majesty, glory, etc.And, throughout the scriptures,when God displays His holy presence,people are often left unable to respond.Isaiah puts hid hand over his mouth (so to speak)realizing that he was unfit to speak in God’s presence.So it is appropriate, that when we sing of Christ’s coming –of the Holy Presence of God appearing in our midst –that we sing words like,“Let all mortal flesh keep silence!”Or, the song with which we close tonight . .“Silent Night, Holy Night. –It was a silent night because it was a holy night
And God’s holy presence always leaves us dumbstruck.~Pastor Bert HitchcockSilent night! Holy night!All is calm, all is brightRound yon virgin mother and child,Holy infant so tender and mild,Sleep in heavenly peace,sleep in heavenly peace.Silent night! Holy night!Shepherds quake at the sight!Glories stream from heaven afarheavenly hosts sing alleluia;Christ the Savior is born!Christ, the Savior is born!Silent night! Holy night!Son of God, love’s pure lightRadiant beams from Thy holy face,with the dawn of redeeming grace.Jesus, Lord at thy birth,Jesus, Lord at thy birth.