What about this silent night?
Everything is calm,
Everything is clear
As my daughter led the congregation in worship with these words, my heart was heavy and heavy. Yes, it is that time when we celebrate the peace brought to the world by our Savior, God incarnate who came into the world as a precious baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. Yet my heart is heavy and overwhelmed with the situations and chaos swirling around me.
Wrongful attacks because I try to do what is right.
The anxiety of a new job at work.
The past hurts to come back in new ways.
Fears for beloved rebels.
Last minute preparations for Christmas.
Where, oh where, is the silence that we sing about in those ancient words? My heart suffers from the silence, the peace, that we imagine on this day so many years ago that our Savior was born.
As I sat in the ward and pondered these thoughts, it struck me that this night was just as chaotic and heavy as the ones I face today.
People who come from afar to register for a census.
The hustle and bustle of a bustling city so there was no room.
A young couple plunged into an overwhelming situation.
Accusations of other people who did not know the whole truth.
Fears of an unknown future.
Our precious Jesus was born in a time of chaos, just like the one we face today. Mary and Joseph were probably the subject of the town’s gossip, with attacks on their character. The city was frantic as everyone tried to comply with Caesar Augustus’ census.
So much movement.
So much activity.
Where was the silent night we sing every Christmas?
Silence was in the manger, sleeping soundly despite the chaos. He was the baby sent for our sins. He was the portrait of peace in the midst of the unknown.
You see, the night itself was not silent. But this beautiful baby brought peace.
And he still brings peace and silence to our hearts today.
Maybe, like me, your life is far from silent right now. Maybe, like me, you struggle to find the true Christmas spirit in the midst of your activity. Maybe, like me, you need to take a few minutes to find the baby in the crib so that you can also find that silent night your soul longs for.
Maybe the silent night is in our hearts as we search for that little baby sent for you and me.
You will keep perfect peace
all those who trust you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26: 3
Where did you mind? Where are your thoughts Are they fixed on Him? I can tell you in all honesty that mine was not focused on Him. I make a conscious effort whenever my mind begins to wander this path of repeating hurts from the present or the past to stop and ask God to help me hold my thoughts (2 Corinthians 10: 5). I can say this prayer five or six times in a row, but finally my Father helps me change my thoughts into those that are fixed on Him.
Do not worry about anything ; instead, pray for everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience the peace of God, which is beyond anything we can comprehend. His peace will keep your hearts and minds as you live in Jesus Christ. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one last thing. To fix your thoughts on what is true, honorable, righteous, pure, beautiful, and admirable. Think of things that are great and worthy of praise. Philippians 4: 6-8
Pray. Prayer is such a heartwarming time. It is that moment of my life when my heart connects with the heart of the Father, where I seek to enter into his presence to share my deepest thoughts and hear my voice. I work to bring him everything in prayer, to thank him for the answers even when I don’t see them yet. I try to fix my thoughts on those things that come directly from Him.
Do you see this word to fix in these two passages? The English definition is to tie securely to a particular place or position, to decide or settle something. We would all do well to fix our minds firmly on him, to fix in our hearts that we are going to live his way. The scriptures teach us that this is when we find the silent night we seek.
Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will get to know the will of God for you, which is good, pleasing and perfect.. Romans 12: 2
The scriptures teach about the power of the mind, especially the power to be transformed by our mind by training it to think about those things that refer us to Him. It is an act of sacrifice, to surrender our will to His. It is an act to be crucified in Him (Galatians 2:20), to lose every ounce of our being in Him.
AAnd you must wholeheartedly commit to these commandments that I am giving you today. Repeat them over and over to your children. Talk about it when you are home and when you are on the road, when you go to bed and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6: 6-8
Our Savior is jealous. He wants to be invited into all the activities of our daily life, whether it is eating, drinking, sleeping or working. He aspires to be part of even the most mundane tasks of this life. It is often in the mundane details that we experience his joy and his silence when we follow his commandments, when we bring him to the smallest details of life, when we lose every ounce of our being for him. Perhaps it is through praise music playing on your desk or writing posted on your computer or a reminder of his goodness in the laundry. Maybe it’s thanks to timers set on your phone to get you back to where He wants you. Whatever it is for you, find ways to bring it into your everyday, ordinary life if you want to find the silent night it offers.
The Lord Himself will fight for you. Just stay calm. Exodus 14:14
Sometimes in chaos we just need to remind ourselves that He is our Defender, the One who fights these battles for us. I find myself offering him my burdens repeatedly, asking him to take them (1 Peter 5: 7). It seems like I pick them up a few times, but I repeat the cycle knowing that I will end up giving them to her completely. That’s when He can fight for me. He’s a much better warrior than I am.
Be still in the presence of the Lord,
and patiently wait for it to act.
Don’t worry about the bad guys who thrive
or worry about their wicked plans. Psalm 37: 7
What a beautiful reminder that he is working, even in silence, that at his time (which is always just the right time), he will act. What peace these words bring to the troubled heart!
This week, I realized that the silent night we seek is available to each of us by giving it access to every hidden thought and every piece of our heart. There was a silent night which is always available to us – every day of the year and not just at Christmas. There is a silent night – thanks to Him Who came in human form to be the offering for our sins.
Have you found the silence? If not, let’s all bow down together and ask him to silence our hearts and minds before him.
Father, this life is tough. We know you understand because you sent your Son to experience life in human form so that you can relate to us in our human condition. Everything in this life demands our attention, pulling us away from you and this silent and peaceful night that we sing at Christmas. Show us. Show us silence as we strive to approach you. Pour out your peace on us as we seek to lose every ounce of our life in you. Our hearts desire you. May our spirits also transform into you. In the name of Jesus, we pray, amen.