Making Christmas Calm and Bright

Welcome to another week!

One of my favorite things to reflect on at Christmas is the quietness of Jesus’ birth. Christmas hymns color my understanding of the Nativity. Lyrics such as “All is calm, all is bright,” and “How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is giv’n” make me think of a truly silent night.

It didn’t begin quietly, though. Think about it: All the major players in the Nativity story traveled from somewhere. Mary and Joseph traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem. The Magi traveled from “the East,” maybe from Parthia, now northeastern Iran. Even the shepherds traveled from the fields into Bethlehem. The angels traveled from heaven. Traveling would have been noisy. Imagine the crowds Mary and Joseph encountered along the way to Bethlehem.

But when we come to the manger, I imagine a quiet scene. I see a cow munching on hay, a ewe resting her head on a lamb, and Joseph’s donkey catching up on much-needed sleep. I see Joseph gazing lovingly at Baby Jesus while Mary cradles him in her arms. I see a blue-black starlit night and sheep dotting the hillsides.

Everything changed when an angel announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds. There was a blinding light, a host of angels, and a dash to Bethlehem. Imagine how much faith it took for the shepherds to leave their sheep unattended, and search for, of all things, an infant in an animal trough. Once the shepherds arrived at the manger, I’m sure they were awestruck. I imagine them staring in wonder at their newborn savior. It must have been overwhelming for the shepherds, Mary, and Joseph.

This Christmas, let’s try to carve out time to reflect on Jesus’ birth. Take a quiet drive around your neighborhood and look at the lights outside people’s homes. Christmas lights can remind us of the Light of the World who came to save humankind.

Stars on Christmas trees and rooftops remind me of the star the Magi followed. Brew a pot of coffee and sit in the light of your Christmas tree while listening to Christmas carols. Read Luke 1-2 and Matthew 1-2. Cut off a sprig of pine and smell the tip. Cherishing quiet moments this Christmas draws us closer to God.

Have a wonderful week. Blessings!