The song “Silent Night” suggests that Jesus was born under peaceful and serene conditions. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Franz Gruber had his own circumstances in mind and not the conditions surrounding the Birth of our Lord and Savior. The Biblical accounts depict a time that was both, very disturbing and equally exciting. Neither of them happened under the cover of darkness.
First, the crowded Inn was not exactly quiet, neither was the shelter where Mary gave birth to the baby Jesus. I do not believe that the shelter had walls. It was a roof on posts with hay and straw for the animals. Then there were the noisy shepherds shouting about angels disrupting the sky with music, telling them that the baby was from God bringing peace and good will. They barely finished when this caravan showed up on camels. I do not think that these Wise Men traveled without guards, guides and servants. What a scene it must have been, to see these dignitaries with their escorts bow before the baby, worship and bring him costly gifts?
This convoy from the East did more than raise an eyebrow. In fact, it disturbed the city of Jerusalem. Herod the king was an edge and so were his advisers. These Magi had followed a star that pointed the way to the birth of a genuine King of the Jews. Back in Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary had not forgotten the predictions about their son. When the Magi did not return to Herod, the holy family headed for Egypt and left Rachel mourning for her children. Herod’s soldiers killed all the male children under two. It was not just noisy but bloody and brutal. There was no time for a silent night or a quiet place for Jesus and his parents.
Jesus, himself, has never promoted silence. His name means “Immanuel” or “God with us.” He was offensive to the Jews and Gentiles and He still is offensive to religions and philosophies that do not want to believe in Him and His God. Why do atheists put up signs that Jesus’ birth was a myth? It is because they fear the Galilean that has access to a God that has prepared a special place for blasphemers. For blasphemers, vocal silence could prove beneficial. It should be even more disturbing to unbelievers, because science has stumbled on a life form that can exist on “toxic chemical arsenic” here on earth. Once more, God is confounding human ingenuity (I Cor.1: 26-31).
Many Christians are comfortable during silent nights in warm surroundings. We too have become “slow of heart” that to follow Christ can be turbulent. We suppose to proclaim our identity with Him from housetops and not hide inside sanctuaries. It is crucial that we know, we are just as save outside as we are inside. We are sent into the world that is divided over Christ. Jesus told his disciple, “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me.” I found Jesus in Matthew 10: 16-42 very enlightening. It certainly depicts our age. Jesus has given us Christmas. The question is, “Can we keep it?”