My view of Christmas has been shaped by the carols we sing.
Recently, I have begun to realize how they don’t accurately portray the Birth of Christ. My favorite carol was Silent Night, until I heard “Labor of Love” by Andrew Peterson.
The first line startles me every time: It was not a silent night.
As a child I always imagined Christmas Eve as a calm, peaceful night. When in reality it wasn’t. It is hard to imagine a young girl, without her mother, traveling for days, experiencing labor, and no clean, warm bed to give birth.
For most of the population in Bethlehem, it was an ordinary night until the angel appeared to the shepherds. They were terrified when just one angel showed up. I imagine by the time “a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel” (Luke 2:13), that the shepherds were in shock. Once the angels were gone the shepherds hurried to Bethlehem to find the baby. It was then that they became excited and started telling others all that had happened.
Another popular Christmas song is, “Mary did you Know?”. It is beautiful, but Mary knew. She had been told that she would give birth to the Son of God. While she didn’t know exactly what events would happen in His life, she knew.
Candlelight service on Christmas Eve is still one of my most cherished traditions and I love to sing Silent Night each year. Verse three is my favorite.
Silent night, Holy night!
Son of God love’s pure light.
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With dawn of Redeeming Grace,
Jesus Lord, at Thy birth
So while the night was not Silent, it was indeed Holy. The dawn of Redeeming Grace had arrived.