I love Christmas Carols. I grew up with “Silent Night” and “Away in a Manger”. Both these songs evoke the silent awe that the first Christmas inspired, however I do not think the actual events were silent or without crying. The little town of Bethlehem was bustling as evidenced by the packed inn. A great Davidic family reunion was going on. Anyone who has attended a reunion knows that ‘silent’ is a seldom used descriptor of such occasions. Raucous and full of revelry would better modify the event. My limited experience with birth also suggests to me that silence is an errant description. I recall the baby’s first cry as a moment of great relief. The maternity ward nurse assured me that the baby had a good set of lungs and I heaved a sigh of relief. Meanwhile outside of town there was little silence as a whole host of angelic choir members broke into song. The skies were rent by the glorious sight and the ether was filled with songs commemorating the momentous birth. Silent, that night was not!
When I think of silence, I think of the great silence between Malachi and Matthew. The world waited wearily for redemption and silence seemed the lone answer. I think of the silence of grief and dashed hope between the crucifixion and the resurrection. These were deep and poignant silences! They were silences of pregnant expectation. The world seemed as if on tip toe in expectation and hope. It was a silence filled with longing for a brighter future and dismay at the current state.
Here in the last week of Advent, we wait in silence. We mourn in lonely exile here and await with an eager anticipation, the One who will make things right. We are not looking for a Baby King but to a glorious Conquering King. We wait in anticipatory silence but when He comes with the last loud trumpet call, the wonderful glorious song of Heaven will once again be heard abroad in the land.
That is the reason for hope. That is a future well worth waiting for! Enjoy a silent advent, and have a Merry Christmas.