Silent Night. The moment before a sound. The night when a word was yet unspoken. The terrifying anticipation of what will be heard, and what will go on unsaid. It was the dark second before there was light. It was the shadowy instant in the Garden when the newborn sinners hid. It was the endless night where a rebellious people stumbled in a barren desert.
Silent Night. How many silent nights consumed a misplaced nation, wondering if their God was still there? Wandering, longing for the familiar comforts of a home. Waiting, listening to the silence of the Almighty. How many silent nights tortured the repentant heart of a sinner-king as he wondered if he was outside of the love of God? How many silent nights were there where his people cried out in the darkness for mercy and comfort, listening to the silence for a word of forgiveness.
Silent Night. The dusky thoughts of my selfish soul. Shameful breath suffocating me at the setting of the quiet eve. From the outside, it looks peaceful, it seems like the calm, but the dark silence destroys. All I can hear are my shallow justifications for my shortfalls. All I can listen to is my inane cry of ignorance and competitive righteousness. This silent night sickens me when all I can hear is my own voice.
Silent Night. When the Word was yet unspoken, it was the pause after the Son of God was forsaken. It was the expectant inhale after your condemnation. And the last silent night was the intersection of a Savior’s death on a cross with Christ’s glorification on his victory podium.
Holy Night. One gloomy, silent night, God stepped into our darkness. The Word had not only spoken but was now made flesh. His voice was heard in real history, crying for his mother when he was hungry, laughing at the clumsy stable animals that were at his bedside. His voice was alive in time and space, soon to speak to sinning and selfish creations. It was the holiest of nights because God’s silence had ended.
One gloomy, silent night, God stepped into our darkness. The Word had not only spoken but was now made flesh.
Holy Night. Here, we finally hear the voice of the Almighty and believe his wonders. We see a pillar of fire in the darkness forging an unexpected path through the wilderness. We can trust the divine promise spoken to those who walked before as it breaks through his silence for the sake of his oppressed and hurting people. Finally, the persistent night lights up with his glory.
Holy Night. He sent his beloved Son to Earth so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. His only Son descended to repent in our place, to be punished for the sins of the whole of creation, and to be raised to eternal life as the first of those he came to save. Finally, a gift that comes amid the silent night for you, and darkness will not overcome it.
All is calm. The Word has descended, and so there is nothing else to worry about. God’s silence is filled with his promises through Christ. Our black night is lit up by the hope of an inheritance won by the faithful Son of God. Our striving and guilt and shame are exchanged with honor and glory and rest on account of Christ.
All is bright. Enlightened by the Word, we see clearly now. Our flaws and sins and disappointments are on display. The night may still seem darker than ever, but all is calm when all is bright. “The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1:9). The true light that descended into the dark night is the only thing that we can see. Our spotlighted shame fades to black as his act of divine reconciliation is illuminated. Yes, everything is bright, and the infant Christ comes to outshine the sun.
Sleep in heavenly peace. Rest through the Silent Night. Christ speaks to his Father on your behalf. Rest through the Holy Night. Christ is the connection between heaven and earth for you. Rest, because all is calm. Christ has stilled the hand of death and the devil by his eternal victory handed to you. Rest, because all is bright. Christ is the light who has come into this world for your comfort and salvation.
Sleep in heavenly peace.