The Dancing Puritan

Sunday, December 23, 2012

I Need a Silent Night



Ray Rhodes, Jr.

Lori and Abigail December 2011

A few years ago singer Amy Grant released a new twist on the Christmas hymn Silent Night.  Whereas the hymn sought to give us an image of the that first Christmas, the new song is a testimony to a particular need.  Grant sings,  

I've made the same mistake before
Too many malls, too many stores
December traffic, Christmas rush
It breaks me till I push and shove


I need a silent night, a holy night
To hear an angel voice through the chaos and the noise
I need a midnight clear, a little peace right here
To end this crazy day with a silent night

Christmas is always busy.  Christmas 2011 was the busiest for our family.  November brought the birth of our daughter Abigail.  On Christmas Day my father died.  New Year’s Eve our oldest daughter was married.  Someone asked me to describe the events of those weeks.  In a moment of weakness I said, “emotional tornado.”  Abigail’s birth was a mountain-top experience.  My father’s health declined rapidly the past three months of his life.  For almost two weeks last December, most of our entire family were with him in a hospital room.  Christmas afternoon he went to be with the Lord.  It was a time of thankfulness that he entered heaven but it is also a time of great grief.  His funeral was Wednesday, December 28th, 2011.  Saturday evening, December 31st our daughter, Rachel was joined in marriage to Adrian Rink.  Rachel radiated the same beauty as her mother did on our wedding day over 25 years ago.  The ceremony was lovely and we are still rejoicing at the goodness of God in their marriage.   This morning (12/23/12) at 5:55 AM I heard the voices of Adrian and Rachel outside in our yard singing "Silent Night."  Their happiness is encouraging.

Back to 2011...With birth, Christmas, death, and marriage, we were tired.  We were tired not because we had been running through shopping malls.  Christmas, in fact, was barely celebrated in our home.  We were tired because of the “emotional tornado.”  That being said, God in HIs grace sustained us. Though we were stirred out of our comfort zone.  The “tornado” was not destructive, but a means of God making us more like Jesus.  It is only through challenges that we get to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:6-10).  It is through the mountains and deep valleys that God takes us to heaven.  He never leads us where His grace will not sustain us.  Several people asked me at the wedding last year, “How have you made it after a preaching a funeral sermon on Wednesday and a wedding sermon on Saturday?”   The answer that I gave was, “the grace of God.”  My answer was not given lightly.   God’s grace brought us through and will ultimately take us all the way to heaven.  Last year we needed a “silent night.”   A night of rest, reflection, restoration and renewal.  In fact the Bible teaches that God renews His people inwardly, day by day.  That is His grace!  Listen to these words from Amy Grant.

 I need a silent night, a holy night
To hear an angel voice through the chaos and the noise
I need a midnight clear, a little peace right here
To end this crazy day with a silent night

What was it like back there in Bethlehem
With peace on earth, good will toward men?

Every shepherd's out in the field
Keeping watch over their flock by night
And the glory of the Lord shone around them
And they were so afraid

And the angels said fear not for behold
I bring you good news of a great joy that shall be for all people
For unto you is born this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord
And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace

I need a silent night, a holy night
To hear an angel voice through the chaos and the noise
I need a midnight clear, a little peace right here
To end this crazy day with a silent night

Even though things are not quite as hectic this year, we never escape the need to be silent before God. God has told us, "Be still and know that I am God."  Hearing Adrian and Rachel sing Silent Night outside of my window this morning was a fresh reminder of the peace that only God can provide.


Ray Rhodes, Jr. is President of Nourished in the Word Ministries and Pastor of Grace Community Church.  He is the author of seven books.