Mary’s pained eyes precipitated a hastening of Joesph’s steps as the weary couple made their way through Bethlehem’s silent, dirty streets.
“While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.” Luke 2:6
She was breathing heavily, crying out in hushed sobs to both Joseph and her Lord.
“Father, you promised this baby would save people from their sins, so He will be brought safely into the world, but where and how will this happen? I am exhausted, and the baby is pressing, Lord. Please provide for us. We look to You for deliverance.”
Joseph’s frantic pace only made the ride more difficult.
Arriving at the inn, Joseph descended upon the door. The news surprised them both—a sigh of disappointment slipped from Mary’s lips.
When night seemed darkest, and birth pangs most intense, God provided not a warm bed in an overcrowded inn, but a quiet cave, nestled into the backdrop of a star-lit sky.
The soft lowing of cattle and baying donkeys accompanied the concerned couple as the Child was pushed out, amidst sobs, into the arms of an anxious yet awe-struck husband.
As I considered these events and their impact on the world and my life today, a dear friend with a tremendous eye for beauty generously offered a gift from her Christmas Collection.
I deliberated all week regarding the words she would pen on it: O Holy Night, Joy to the World? I hold Christmas so dear, it was a seemingly silly yet important decision.
Perusing her collection, “all is calm, all is bright” struck me, and the more I pondered these well-known words in the classic hymn, Silent Night, the more tender my heart became to their significance.
In the chaos of dictatorial commands, crowded roads and dismissive gestures, God brought peace into the weary couple’s disappointment through His presence, provision and promises.
Subtle assurances, surprising provisions: His constancy was the calm their hearts required when it came time to bring forth the Light into the world.
Light comes to relieve every disappointed heart and darkened soul.
Light comes to relinquish the sinister hold on the world.
Light comes to fill mankind with the brightness of His presence.
“All is calm, all is bright” has newfound meaning for me. Pondering their significance conveys glistening eyes and a warmed soul.
No matter my disappointment in circumstances, at any moment, I can experience the calm of the first Christmas with a turn of my thoughts towards His goodness, constant provision, and tender love.
I can recalibrate my heart towards the brightness of the One born into the darkness of this broken world, upon whose heels the hosts of heaven stormed the horizon in angelic chorus,
Proclaiming the birth of the new King and His Kingdom come to earth.
God may surprise us by His methods, but never by His absence.
Friend, has disappointment eclipsed your faith? Has joy been overrun by loneliness? Has peace been replaced with fear, anxiety and busyness?
What proclamation needs to be declared to your heart today? What good news needs to fall freshly upon your soul like soft snow spilling silently into the stillness of the night?
There is new hope to be revisited in Christmas hymns of old.
Not because they were beautifully composed, but because they declare ancient truths as life-changing and relevant today as they were that clear, silent night when heaven touched Earth.
When I look at the gift lovingly designed by my creative friend, I want to remember the Silent Night when Holiness itself was wrapped in humanity and brought forth through the most meager means, bearing peace on earth and goodwill toward mankind.
Will you join me?
“God coming down to this gritty, dusty land of the dying makes every difference in our hope for living.” Emily P. Freeman, The Quiet Collection
*Photos courtesy of The Nativity Story movie and pexels.com