Monday, December 19, 2011

Silent Night, Holy Night

Dear Friends,

Today's blog is a guest blog from our dear friend, Joni Eareckson Tada.  As I listen to my grandsons singing their favorite carols in their sweet voices, I cannot think of the simplicity of God's greatest gift - the gift of His Holy and Precious Son.  The Savior of the Universe came as a precious child, quietly without fanfare yet the celestial sky pronounced His coming -  the entire Universe changed on this amazing day!

I cannot say it better than Joni, a woman I truly admire and have been blessed to meet.  May her words warm your soul and may the Holy Spirit give you great peace, the true Nativity, in the week to come. 

Silent night, holy night
All is calm all is bright
‘Round yon virgin, mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace. 

What a beautiful carol that is – I bet you were singing along, and I sure hope that you’re enjoying a wonderful Christmas season thus far, catching up on gifts, making those rounds of parties, getting ready to welcome home relatives and friends. It’s a blessed time of year. 

But it’s interesting to think that the First Coming of Jesus didn’t have much going on; Jesus didn’t arrive during a high holy feast; no, His First Coming attracted very little attention, except for the small group of shepherds who showed up at the manger. Apart from them and a few animals, Jesus’ entry into the world was quiet. After those shepherds went back to the fields and angels disappeared, it was most likely a silent night with not many people noticing. Perhaps the next morning, it was just another ordinary day in Bethlehem. I'm guessing the Roman soldiers set up their census table and inside the crowded inn – the inn from which Mary and Joseph were turned away – families probably headed downstairs for breakfast. A few travelers may have headed for the stable – I wonder: did any of them hear the cry of the newborn baby in the far stall? Did any of them see the display in the sky the night before; did they look out the window? I doubt it. The First Advent was a serene, quiet entry. 

Oh, but what a contrast it will be when Jesus returns for his Second Advent -- he’ll come in thunder and glory. Revelation chapter 1, verse 7 says, “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.” Did you catch that? Every person on earth shall witness His arrival (not sure how that’s going to happen, but it’s what the Bible says and I believe it). With the blast of the trumpet and lightning flashing, those who crucified God's Son will see His coming across the Mount of Olives… they will see Him and mourn. It won’t be a quiet entry into the world. It will be loud and crashing. However, for those who have trusted in Christ’s redemption, the days of mourning will be over, not just beginning. For the Christian, the prospect of Christ’s return will be joyous, not terrifying. 

Friend, the First Advent of Jesus is inextricably linked to his Second. It’s why some people even say “Maranatha, Merry Christmas!” Maranatha means “Come, Lord Jesus.” Come quickly. So as we draw near to the last week before Christmas, today, find a way to share the reason for this wonderful season; find a way to give the Good News to those who don’t know the Savior. After all, we’ve got to get them ready for the Second Advent and the return of Jesus. And it’s why I say to you today, “Maranatha, Merry Christmas.”  © Joni and Friends

And may I add "Merry Christmas" to you and yours!
Until Next Time,

You may enjoy this clip from one of my favorites, The Nativity Story:

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