"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."
There is an exclamation mark after the title in my hymnal. Of all the titles to proclaim triumphantly, why "Silent Night?" Seems out of place. Shouldn't it be whispered, like the slow pace of the first few notes? Hush, for the baby is sleeping.
It was a holy night. A night unlike any other before or since. All was calm. For the first time in history, the world could sleep in heavenly peace. Christ, the Savior, was born. The Rescuer, true love wrapped in rags, was among them. And his Father had a plan: an unexpectedly glorious plan.
The slumbering residents of Bethlehem may not have rushed to greet the king, shoppers may not have paused this year to look beyond the sales, old men dressed in red and listening to requests may not have understood the real reason for a holiday, but they were all invited to sleep in heavenly peace.
Today, we are all invited to sleep in heavenly peace. We are able to rest in the assurance that the Rescuer has come, and the end of the story has already been decided. Good triumphs over evil! Peace and love will reign for all eternity! All is bright, for he is the son of God, love's pure light.
It began that holy night. Holy Night! An eve worthy of exclamation and song. I will shout it with joy all my waking moments, then testify in the dark hours - Yes, I can sleep in heavenly peace.
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end. (Luke 1:30-33 NIV)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27 NIV)
Savior, you are the answer to all the wrong in this world. You are the reason I do not need to fear death. You left the comfort of community with your father so that today I can enjoy that same closeness. I am humbled by your love. All I can say is thanks. Thanks for giving me the gift of peace. Amen.