Encountering Immanuel

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We’re coming down to the last few days before Christmas. The stores are packed, the traffic is pretty heavy, and kids are amped up. 

I’m wondering, “How’s your soul?”

Is your to-do list a mile long? Are you feeling stressed over being with extended family? Are you longing for a silent night?

When Steve and I were raising our kids, Christmas Eve was anything but silent. Steve was a pastor and we often had 3 or 4 Christmas Eve services.  After the rush of Christmas Eve, we’d get the kids in bed and, just a few hours later, they’d come bounding into our room ready to open gifts. I can still hear Steve’s groan. Ha! But one Christmas, after the late night, I woke very early and decided to get up before the kids. It was still dark outside. I sat sipping my coffee with all the lights out except the lights on our Christmas tree. Sitting there reflecting, I remember in the silence that my heart was filled with praise for Jesus. I remember thinking, “This silence is a gift.”

In the fall of 1816, Joseph Mohr, a young Austrian priest, wrote the lyrics to Silent Night. A few years later Joseph gave the lyrics to a friend who put them to music. During World War I something beautiful happened with the song. Pope Benedict had called for a cease-fire to celebrate the birth of Christ, but neither side was willing. However, on Christmas Eve night, as German and British soldiers missed their homes hiding in the cold dark trenches, Walter Kirchoff, a German officer who had been in the opera, laid down his weapon and began singing Silent Night. He sang first in German and then in English. As he sang, other troops also laid down their weapons and began to sing with him. Imagine, a Christmas Eve service between two warring sides. A cease-fire to worship!

As I’ve been thinking about that story, I believe we need moments of silence and a cease-fire in our souls.

The Psalmists reference silence many times…

Psalm 34:7 instructs us to be silent before the Lord. 

Psalm 46:10 invites us to be still and know that He is God.

Psalm 62:5 cautions us to wait in silence before the Lord. 

This week, as we head full tilt towards Christmas, may I challenge you? Find a few moments of silence to pause in wonder and worship at God’s indescribable gift. You don’t have to carve out hours; a few simple, quiet moments will do. Pause the chatter in your own soul and simply savor the wonder of Jesus. 

If you are looking to do a Bible study in the New Year, why not order a copy of Our Father? Discover the beauty and blessing of the Lord’s Prayer!

This week on The Connected Mom Podcast, We’re talking about hope even in the face of cancer. Our guest is Michele Cushatt, a best-selling author and leadership coach, and you don’t want to miss it!

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