“Silent Night” is one of the most widely recognized traditional Christmas carols. Yet, every year, we seem to move farther away from what was deemed a “Silent Night, Holy Night” by the hymn writers. To give you a refresher, here are the lyrics from the first stanza:
“Silent night! Holy night! All is calm, all is bright,
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child! Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace! Sleep in heavenly peace!”
While we all know how this song begins, so many of those around us have forgotten the rest of the refrains which continuously change “sleep in heavenly peace” to “Christ, the Savior, is born” and “Jesus, Lord at thy birth.”
It was a holy night because it was the night our Savior was born into a world of sin so that we may be forgiven and have eternal life. Was it a silent night? I’m not so sure. The Bible tells us the angels rejoiced!
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’ – Luke 2:13-14
It’s hard for me to imagine a silent night when you factor in the angels’ heavenly celebration. Yet, when we consider how much Christmas has changed from the time our Savior was born in a manger until today, there is no longer anything silent about it.
The Christmas season is loud, busy, and chaotic. As you celebrate this Christmas, here are few ways you can be more intentional about making the day quieter and holier.
Make Time for Quiet
It is highly likely that your Christmas will be full of noise and commotion – and that is okay! But, it is important to make time for quiet. When everything is loud and chaotic, it is difficult to focus on the significance of the day. It is in the moments of quiet that you can reflect on the Father’s great gift to us.
Read the True Christmas Story
In all the hustle and bustle, pause and read the true Christmas story (Matthew 1:18-25, 2:1-12; Luke 1:26-38, 2:1-20). Throughout the Christmas season, we are bombarded with messages that celebrate the Christmas holiday, but messages that do not celebrate the Savior’s birth. Many families make reading the Christmas story aloud together one of their traditions.
Worship the Savior
Throughout the day, worship the Savior. Sing Christmas hymns and praise Him. Many of the traditional Christmas carols are songs of worship. This is a day of celebration – don’t hold back! Sing your praise loudly!
Joy to the world, the Lord has come!
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing
Put Yourself in Their Sandals
We so easily get wrapped up in what we are doing that we neglect to think about the actual day of Jesus’ birth. Instead, on Christmas, take time to think about what the Savior’s birth was like for those around him. Put yourself in their shoes. What was the experience like for Mary and Joseph? What about the shepherds? Or the angels? Or the wise men who began their journey to find him?
Celebrate the Savior’s Birth
Recognize that this holiday is a celebration of the Savior’s birth. How do you celebrate birthdays in your family? Maybe you want to incorporate some of the things you do for birthdays into your Christmas celebrations. For example, some families bake a birthday cake for Jesus.
Spend Time in Prayer
For many families, Christmas is a busy day filled with visits and activities. If you anticipate a day where you will be rushing around (or even if your day will be slow), make sure you spend time in prayer. It can be easy to get so caught up in all the busyness that you forget to spend time with the one you are celebrating.
As you spend time with the Lord, thank Him for giving you the greatest gift. Additionally, as you are given gifts from others, express gratitude. Christians do not do themselves any favors when they act like the Grinch. Instead, we should show thankfulness for the gifts we are given.
While everyone celebrates a little differently, one thing to strive to do on Christmas that is in the spirit of our Savior is to serve others. Whether this means going outside your home or practicing hospitality in your own home, it is an opportunity to serve others. Focus on showing others love by being present and not distracted. Place the needs of others above your own.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:8-9
Be a Cheerful Giver
Christmas is a perfect time to practice being a cheerful giver. As you give to others, give with love. If your church takes up a Christmas offering or there is an organization that you can give to this season, give from your heart.
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
Find Opportunities to Love Like Jesus
Throughout the day, find opportunities to love like Jesus. Jesus loved others well. Do the same. Break bread together. Look people in the eye. Be kind, compassionate, and considerate. Find ways to be the hands and feet of Jesus this Christmas.
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” – 1 John 4:9-12