Reality interrupts season’s calm

“Silent night…?

While walking out in the fields on the farm at night, I am struck by the stillness of the world around me. It nearly takes my breath away.

?Holy night…?

Holy? Yes. It feels like there is a sense of the extra-ordinary when the world is silent, broken only by the sounds of nature as they fill up my senses.

?All is calm, all is bright….?

Come again? When alone and in the darkness of the night, the moon and stars are my only companions. ?Calm and bright? would describe that moment in time.

As one returns to reality, where people are hurting, where the daily breaking news story repeats itself every 24 hours; the drive-by shootings or a report of a young woman brutally assaulted, raped, set on fire and left for dead; this dreadful intrusion overwhelms our senses.

News of recent killings of police officers and the riots that drove angry people to the brink are difficult to comprehend.

The mind is numbed to the point we no longer feel the raw brutality of the crime and are simply unable to respond.

What can one say or do to make it better? How can we restore the calm and the brightness of the moment?

?Round, yon virgin, mother and child. Holy infant so tender and mild.?

This is such a pretty picture! Pure innocence and love, grace and vulnerability, surrounded by the presence of holiness in the midst of immense tragedy!

I am taken back in time when our twin granddaughters were born. Ben, the new father, was able to step outside of his role long enough to take a few pictures and a short video of that moment as the nurses washed their tiny heads, and Grace and Lucia took their first look around the room.

Deborah and I received notification that pictures and video were available for viewing. Stunned and in silence, we began the journey into a sacred place to see the incredible beauty of the nature of God that took the form of two precious souls.

The words of another song, ?What Do I Know of Holy?? sung by the group Addison Road, seemed to shout their praise of this holy moment.

Imaging this setting happening 2,000 years earlier, and the beauty of the miracle birth of the Christ Child. The parents, some shepherds and a heavenly host are gazing in awe and wonderment. God, in human form, has come to earth!

Then discover the reality that threatens to destroy the young family. Soon, they will flee for their lives to escape the clutches of an evil king.

?Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace….?

How can one sleep in heavenly peace when trouble and tribulation await? Could the Christ Child comprehend what He was about to experience three decades later, at the hands of men that were determined to kill Him? It was for this reason Christ chose to take on human form, is it not?

Did He come to save humanity from sin, or did he come so we could enjoy the benefit of a wonderful time with family and friends, year after year?

Looking ahead, the message of Christmas continues to amaze and to bring us to the manger bed. Its gaze upon our hearts causes us to reflect on important questions.

What about us? Where do we go from here?

Once we recognize who the Christ Child is and why He came, what will we do?

Once we acknowledge our need for grace and salvation from sin, we are encouraged to become the instruments of God?s mercy and grace among those that are in need of receiving that same message of hope.

Instead of fomenting strife among ourselves, we use our talents to build up relationships with people.

Now that we are empowered by God?s love, we are able to find ways to empower people as they work through difficult times.

Instead of tearing down people and using gossip to assassinate their character, we should become excited about using our gifts according to the fruits of the spirit as described in Galatians 5, by offering ourselves as living examples of how people of God can live in harmony and peace with one another.

Yes, we are human and prone to failure and fall back into sinful behavior. Fortunately, we have an advocate who pleads our case with God, the Father. His name is Jesus Christ.

So, rather than being a part of the problem, in spite of our shortcomings, we can become an integral part of the solution and point the way to God.

Merry Christmas!

Written By
More from Paul Penner
Another side to Thanksgiving cliches
The leaves have finally fallen from the trees. Soon, we will be...
Read More