Silent night, holy night,
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child!
Joseph Mohr wrote a beautiful poem which Franz Gruber set to music, and every year since, it sets the mood of Christmas as quiet, worshipful and meditative.
Silent. Holy. Calm.
We like to think so anyway.
The truth is, if you read the two accounts we’re given, there are scant real, concrete details in Scripture about the birth of Christ. We don’t know the date, the time, the place, or the baby’s length and weight. Almost everything we know about it comes from the imagination or tradition or even songs.
But Christmas defies imagination. It is the embodiment –literally– of a plan far beyond what we could envision. When God takes on flesh, He doesn’t come as a king (yet) or a warrior (yet), but a baby. Seriously, a baby? That plan wouldn’t make it out of one our focus groups.
But God’s plan, in His timing, according to His purposes a baby makes perfect sense.
The birth of Jesus may have been just the way Joseph Mohr imagined it. Certainly quiet, worshipful and meditative is a proper response for us as we consider it. But it’s worth remembering that even the most vivid imagination falls far short of the wonder that is Christmas.