I read a daily devotional this evening about a family that immigrated to the United States from the Netherlands. They had three children, all born her, who later married three spouses each from different countries. Well during at least one Christmas they were all gathered and they sang “Silent Night, Holy Night” each in their own language. So I am guessing 5 different languages is probably the correct count. The devotional also quotes Luke, chapter 2, where the inspiration comes from. Luke 2:8-14, “ And in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”” So I wonder what a multitude of angels praising God sounds like?
As I write this I am listening to different versions of “Silent Night, Holy Night” on YouTube. So far I have listened to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, some German choir singing in German, Sarah McLaughlin, and Pavarotti singing in Italian, along with Mahelia Jackson. I am fixing to hear it performed by Johnny Cash with Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis. Doubt I will listen to Justin Beiber or the Barenaked Ladies though. Why have they all stopped their careers to do this song? Don’t they realize they are joining voices with the heavenly host to praise God and to proclaim peace to those in whom He is pleased? What do those verses in Luke tell us about angels and the proclaiming of the coming of the Lord, of God Himself and what does it proclaim to us? Just found a rendition done in Persian with worship by Farsi. It is the most stunning of all the ones I have heard, very holy and lifting me into worship of my Lord and Savior. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njS03C1tnrE
We are each shepherds and we each tend our own flock by night. Yes, nights are dark and they can be lonely and scary but we are dutiful to continue to keep watch night after night. This verse in Luke says that angels will come to us in our night and will bring us good news. The author, Luke, makes sure to tell us that when this angel comes to speak to us we will be frightened but that the angel will minister peace along with wonder at what is happening.
Notice too that the good news is not what we would expect for the coming of someone to save us. No white horse, no drawn sword, just coming as a babe, an infant, so totally helpless it would seem. Not the way I would do it but then I am not in charge. This verse simply calls me to be a witness to the coming of the Lord, to the love God has for all mankind.
Am I willing to have my night interrupted by proclamations and worship and multitudes of angels? Am I willing to go down to the village, to the stable no less, to bear witness of something so incredibly awesome as to defy everything we conceive of for this type of event?
What is a heavenly host and what do they look like and sound like? Angels are bad enough but now we have something else and lots of them, all making noise. If you have served in the military and pulled guard at night in a hostile environment noise is not your friend, you want quiet, you want a silent night. Yet here comes a multitude making lots of noise proclaiming that a baby has been born. Maybe if they were proclaiming that the marines have landed and the cavalry is charging that might fly. But no, nothing like that, just one more little infant that is helpless, more watching for the shepherds.
Yet this Christmas Eve I for one am in a dark place, a night of sorts, and I am keeping watch over that which I have. Yet this infant, now the risen Lord, still beckons me to witness His birth this Christmas. His eyes are still pure, clear, and innocent as only that of an infant can be. They pierce my soul, my heart, my mind, with such a blaze of light, of hope and mostly of His love. Love that is for me and desires to be through me, to bring the light and the love to all the world. He beckons me to lift my voice with the multitude of heavenly host and proclaim the coming of the One promised for forever. If I add my voice it will then have the noise of a croaking frog joining in saying that indeed peace has come. Peace has come as an infant, the Lord Himself has come in the form He chooses and it is not just good but it is very good. Now I can be at peace as I stand watch at night. Our world is dark, it can be said to be at night, dark and scary. May an angel pop up by you this Christmas night and proclaim the good news of the birth of Jesus, the Lord, and the Christ and may he bid you to be a witness to the Lord of life. May you join your voice with the multitude proclaiming glory to God in the Highest.
Merry Christmas to one and all. We have a Savior. We have a Lord who is worthy of singing praises to, of being at peace resting in His arms.