The quiet frightens me. I have a toddler, a very excitable and busy child, so if it’s quiet in my house, I am concerned. So far this week, she’s painted her sister’s trophy, destroyed her room twice, and eaten candy from God knows where. I do not like the quiet.
I think of the classic Christmas carol, “Silent Night” and I have questions.
1) How? Have you ever been in the room when a mother is giving birth? It is not silent. I remember going to the hospital with my first child. I brought movies and board games because I thought I might get bored. I heard the lady in the room next to mine screaming. My eyes widened with fear. I was not prepared.
Then there were the doctors and nurses coaching me, my husband encouraging me, breathing as loudly as I could. The room went quiet for a second as I listened for the cries of my newborn. That few seconds took forever. I think I held my own breath waiting to make sure she was breathing. Her cry both alarmed and soothed my deepest fear.
Mary and Joseph took shelter in a barn. I can’t imagine the animals are pleased to see these strangers taking up residence. I can’t imagine that their rest was undisturbed.
Then there are angels and shepherds and wisemen. This does not seem like a silent night at all.
2) All is bright? How? It’s the middle of the night. There is no electricity, and they are in a barn. Have you ever been on a country road at night when the power is out? It’s easy to become disoriented. I suppose the star helped, but I can’t imagine it was actually that bright. That would have drawn attention from more than just the shepherds and wisemen. I’m sure curious folks from town would have investigated the source of such a light, or at least sent their husbands out to figure out what was going on.
3) Heavenly peace? The first night with a newborn is the scariest thing I have ever experienced. There was no peace that first night. Between checking to see if my child was breathing, and nursing, and diaper changes, not to mention my own physical pain, I don’t know that I closed my eyes for more than 20 minutes at a time. How could the blessed mother Mary have rested at all, knowing that she was parenting the promised king? How could this baby who knew only of heavenly places have every single one of his senses assaulted and still sleep in heavenly peace.
I haven’t had a silent night in nearly 13 years, and I would not have it any other way. My children are a gift to the world, and I assure you none of them are the coming Messiah.
Silent night is a timeless classic, especially The Temptations version, but I think whoever wrote it did not have kids.