How silently, how silently,
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of his heaven.
No ear may hear his coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him, still
The dear Christ enters in.
In our carol service tonight we will be singing ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’. Bethlehem must be one of the most divided towns at the moment, with Jews, Christians and Muslims staking claim to certain areas – its importance in the world cannot be denied. But quiet…? With all those people coming in for the census, there must have been much noise and movement.
It wouldn’t have been quiet in the stable either. Labour can be quite noisy, and doubtless the animals would have added to Mary’s cries. I suppose it was Joseph who encouraged her with ‘one more push!’ There were no fanfares, and the shepherds’ arrival hardly compares with the media rush and camera flashes that would herald a birth nowadays.
Doubtless you have been rushing around trying to get everything done before the ‘Christmas deadline’. Take time to be quiet and consider the impact this baby’s birth has had. Listen for the voice speaking softly to you, and open your heart and mind so that Christ may come in.