The Stillness of Christmas

By Ronnie Martin

December 13, 2015

It is Christmas, after all. 

And without fail, your December sojourn into a forest of wooded pines has been rewarded with a tree trimmed to heights of unparalleled perfection. Any minute now, Nat King Cole, the old crooner, will be going on about Jack Frost and yuletide carols. Then there’s the fountains of eggnog, the veritable photo book of Christmas cards and the never ending bounty of sugar sprinkled delights. Some of us revel in the tinsel themed joy, others not so much. But all of it threatens to bury us in a snowflake shaped candy dish of either holiday cheer or challenges. More than anything, what we find most difficult to do is...pause. In this blustery bombardment of mayhem and merriment, it’s stillness that alludes us. 

But what might happen if you could be stilled? 

Maybe you’d be like the shepherds in the gospel of Luke, the quiet of nightfall descending upon you in the rural hills of Bethlehem. Preoccupied with sheep tending, your thoughts might drift and wander in the pale solitude. Such a glamour-less vocation, you think. So many unmet needs. The night wanes, a vast, endless array of stars reminding you of the micro-space you inhabit.

Then, a moment occurs. A brightness of indescribable wonder and terror overwhelms the mountainous terrain. An angel appears. You cower under the radiant glow, unable to find your feet, but more than able to find your fear. What was it you were just pondering? What were those needs again? 

But this, this glory. It makes you acutely aware that this is not a quality you possess. The angel looks favorably upon you. He provides much wanted reassurance. His presence is not to be feared, but to be heard. He has news and it’s of the good, joyful variety. A child has been born, a Savior, called the Christ. And He is near.

Suddenly, a choir of angels joins the lone messenger and a thousand part harmony ensues, bellowing alongside the nighttime wind with joyful grandiosity, For those with whom God is pleased, they will find peace! It’s a deafening roar, piercing through the fabric of your very soul.

So you flee the lighted hills and find the child of whom the angel spoke. He’s lying in a manger, His mother and father tending carefully to him. And in an instant, all is met. Hopes and fears, met.

And just as suddenly, you return, because tending sheep is what you do, although it’s not who you are anymore. You now share a kinship with the angel messenger. You too have good news to tell, and songs of praise to sing. So you do both.

And in the stillness once again you realize you only ever had one need: A Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 

 

Keywords: advent, christmas
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