Holy night, silent night… all is calm.’

My Christmas day spent with 2 noisily excited grandchildren vying for my attention, seemed a long way from the silence and calm of that Holy night of the well-known Christmas carol.

And yet, in a world characterised by noise and clamour as we celebrate the birth of the Saviour, perhaps we need more than ever to be drawn into the silence of His birth.

As we reflect on that Birth we are not aware of noise and clamour (only the gentle, lowing of the animals surrounding the new born), but instead, the silent reverence offered to the Child in the manger… the Child in the manger who is God.

The scriptures give us no words spoken by Mary or Joseph.

We might imagine Mary, exhausted by the labour of giving birth, and Joseph silently giving thanks for a safe delivery and both of them resting in the knowledge that God’s gift of love for the whole world is sleeping safely… in heavenly peace.

Then there are the shepherds, unexpectedly caught up into the mystery of God’s love who speak only to say, ‘Let us go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.’

As they approach the Christ-child, we hear no words, but might imagine their sense of gratitude at being welcomed into the stable, followed by their offering of silent wonderment, love and thanks to the Child who had drawn them there.

The Magi enter the stable silently. Offering no words… only their treasures. Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh.

They offer no words… only their reverent kneeling at the feet of ‘The King of the Jews’, whose star they had observed at its rising.

How silently, how silently,
The wondrous gift is given.
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him
Still, the dear Christ enters in

The words of this Carol speak of the silently given Love, being an ongoing gift available to be received in the silence of the heart of those who choose to accept the gift… this day and every day.

The noise and clamour of war is a constant in our world, and drowns out the song of the angels singing the good news of the Saviour’s birth.

One Christmas carol urges,

O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.’

How we need to hear that in today’s world!

Of course, there are those for whom silence is ever present in their lives, and who long for the silence to be broken by a knock on the door, the ringing of the phone or a friendly face and voice to share with them the love of the Child Jesus, God’s gift of His presence in the world… for all people… for all time.

So, this Christmas… adore Christ in the silence; share the silent love of Christ with those in need.

Joy and Peace to all.

Joan Grenfell