Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Silence Was Broken

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power, After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” 
Hebrews 1:1-4

"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined." 
Isaiah 9:2

I have an admission to make. “Silent Night” has never been one of my favorite Christmas carols. I never really knew why, but it just hasn’t been up there on my top list of favorites. I think I know why after thinking about it some recently. For one thing, I’m not a fan of schmalzy sentimentalism, and this song has a bit of that. I mean, was it really silent and calm? Probably not. But I understand the point and I’m not saying I won’t sing the song with gusto every Christmas, because, “Alleluia to our King. Christ the Saviour is born!” Yes, and amen, I love the last lines. And “Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth,” what a glorious truth, even in the midst of the sentimentality. So I’m not suggesting it’s a bad song or that I won’t sing it out. I just like some of the other Christmas carols better.  

Kevin DeYoung posted this yesterday, and the first line in the song, “It was not a Silent Night,” resonated with me. I can’t say I like the song he posted as much as he seems to, though it’s a good one,  but it got me thinking. 

No, it wasn’t a silent night, for the reasons mentioned in the song, but in an even more significant way. Here’s where I went as I pondered yesterday.

It had been about 400 years since the last prophet had received a word from God to share with Israel. Think of it. 400 years of seeming silence from God as the people waited for the fulfillment of His promise to send Messiah to save His people from their sin. Many were looking for Messiah and hoping in God, the time was right, and those who knew the Scriptures, were waiting. Then, suddenly the silence was broken, not by another prophet, but by the cry of a baby, the baby, and the announcement of angels to a group of shepherds in a field, the angels were praising God, saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14) The silence was broken when God sent His Son into the world to redeem His people. He, Himself, came to rescue His people from their sin. Simeon in the temple was one of those who waited, and He recognized Him, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2: 29-32) Hallelujah! 

Christmas isn’t just about the baby in the manger. What we who know Him are celebrating isn’t just the manger, but the Cross and the Resurrection. We celebrate because Immanuel, God With Us, came to live among us and live out the law that we could not and be righteous, fulfill all righteousness, for us. He is our ultimate Passover Lamb, the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3:16-21).

The silence was broken when the Word became flesh (John 1:1-4). “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13). 

This is Christmas. This is what we celebrate. This is why we celebrate!

Hallelujah, what a Savior!