A Not-So Silent Night

Silent night, holy night.
All is calm, all is bright.

Sounds a lot like most of the nativity sets I have in my home. Beautiful, breakable. Set just so.

I do love this old, German/Austrian Christmas carol. It’s a favorite of many. As a young girl, I remember trying to slide into that high note at the end–not so beautifully–as evidenced by the adults staring and winking in my direction.

Yes … favorite, tender lyrics. But are they an accurate depiction for the night of Jesus’ birth?

Do you love the well-known Christmas Carol, "Silent Night"? It's one of my favorites, too. But maybe it wasn't so silent after all.

It most certainly was a holy night. But it I don’t think it was as silent and calm as one might think. It was also a dark time politically for Israel. Israel was under Roman oppression and bucking its political system.

Bethlehem. My sentimental heart squeezes when I remember that Ruth adopted it as her home town. King David was born there. Then, God arranged circumstances perfectly, so that Mary and Joseph would be there at the right time for our Savior to be born there as well.

A small town about the size of Dime Box, Texas, Bethlehem was not a calm town. It was crowded with cranky and tired travelers, who were there to take care of required, government business. Caesar Augustus had ordered a census, with each family reporting to its ancestral city (Luke 2:1-3).

Joseph and Mary were desperate when they arrived. All the guest rooms were full–and Mary was in full-term labor. Finally, someone allowed them to stay with their animals. Mary and Joseph were alone as she painfully labored to bring her Son into the world.

Darkness Dispelled!

Shepherds, who lived in the nearby fields, were watching over their flocks of sheep. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone all around them (Luke 2:9).

Think about that for a minute. You are a shepherd, sitting on the ground in the middle of the night, with only the moon and the stars for light. Suddenly, the radiance of the Lord shines all around you. What must that have been like? Calmness did not describe their night. They must have been in shock! Did they cover their eyes with their arms? Did their eyes ache from the blinding light?

Silence Shattered!

The shepherds were terrified! Breaking the silence, the angel told them …

Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12)

and then this …

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.‘” (Luke 2:13-14)

Their usually calm night transitioned from fear–to joy. The silence was exchanged for glorious rejoicing! In their excitement, they said to each other, “Let’s go! We gotta see this!” So they left their sheep and hurried to see what the angel had told them.

The shepherds found Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus, just as the angels said. With news this great, they couldn’t keep it to themselves. They told everyone about it! And then …

The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.” (Luke 2:20)

Did their hearts swell with hope as they realized the Promise foretold long ago was being fulfilled before their very eyes?

The Cry of Every Heart

Silent night, holy night. All is calm, all is bright … is the cry of every heart. For most of us, our worlds are anything but silent, calm, and bright. But Jesus came to change all that. He enters our space and …

The Light of the World dispels our darkness.
The Prince of Peace replaces our anxiety with rest.
The Hope of the world gives us a reason to rejoice!

Silent night, holy night is the cry of every heart.Click To Tweet

The next time you sing this beloved carol, don’t leave the lyrics in the manger. Bring them forward to your own heart’s need, and let the Babe change everything!

Wishing you and your loved ones a beautiful Christmas,

On a side note, if you are interested in the direct translation of the original German lyrics to English, you can check them out here.



Where I regularly link up.

Purposeful Faith with Kelly Balarie and Testimony Tuesday with Holly Barret.

Grace & Truth with Arabah Joy, Counting My Blessings with Deb Wolf, Dance with Jesus with Susan B. Mead

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19 replies

  1. Oh, how I love Christmas carols! I’m teaching my Sunday school kids “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks” just because I don’t think they’ll hear it any other way, and because it has the whole story. Thanks for sharing these beautiful songs of the season.
    Michele Morin recently posted…The Power of a Single WordMy Profile

    • That’s great, Michele! It’s important for our children to know these hymns. Thanks for coming by today. Praying you have a blessed holiday.

  2. There’s a book about the origins or Christmas carols that I saw today and it looked really interesting. That’s the side note ;). Beautiful post and reminder that Jesus brings us calm–no matter what our surroundings look like.

    • I have a couple of books that detail the history of favorite hymns. I enjoy knowing the thought behind poetry and prose. So glad you stopped by, Anita. Rejoicing with you that we can experience the Prince of Peace in the midst of he not-so calm!

  3. Beautiful!!! Truly – this is the cry of my heart!

  4. Love this, Dianne! It’s my favorite of the Christmas carols and you added so much in this telling… Can you imagine the sky filling with the singing of an angel choir! Wow! Blessings!!

  5. You bring a smile, Dianne. I wonder how many times we’ve sang those familiar Christmas carols and left them in the manger? Praise God for that Babe and how He comes with us into everyday life. Merry Christmas! Visiting via #raralinkup.

  6. Silent Night is one of my favorite carols because my maiden name is Gruber. Franz Gruber is a distant relative. With that aside, I agree that in reality the night Jesus was born was anything but silent. But all the other characters and activities needed to happen so the story unfolded as we know it today. I love how you challenge us at the end not to leave the lyrics in the manger but bring them forward to our own heart’s needs. Blessings!
    Mary Geisen recently posted…When Advent Reads UsMy Profile

    • Wow, Mary! How exciting to be related to There is so much more history to this carol … which I’m sure you are familiar with. The same for Franz and the organist … the timing was just write for the pieces to fall together for this beautiful Christmas carol.

  7. Oh, Dianne, I just love this! You painted such a vivid picture that it wasn’t hard for us to imagine what that night must have been like — truly it was awe-inspiring. I’m going to share this one to #spreadtheshine, my friend.
    Wishing Christmas blessings to you and yours.
    Marva | SunSparkleShine recently posted…Goal Setting for Christians – How to Spark your New Year GoalsMy Profile

  8. Dianne, this was such a meaningful post because I so love Christmas music. I’ve been known to play it all year long 🙂 Your last paragraph is such truth. May we not leave the lyrics in the manger. May we bring them forward and let the Baby change everything. Just beautiful! May you and yours have a blessed Christmas!
    Joanne Viola recently posted…Receive The EchoesMy Profile

    • Thanks, Joanne. I love Christmas music, too. Traditional and contemporary. Focuses my heart where it needs to be. Merry Christmas to you as well!

  9. I don’t think my nativity set is very accurate either. And there probably was not much silence in a stable full of animals. ha. So grateful that Jesus steps into all our spaces!
    Lisa notes recently posted…Top 10 Books of 2016My Profile

  10. Your beautiful post reminds me that our Heavenly Father seems to delight in doing the unexpected. Our assumptions about how God would or should make His presence known have been proven wrong for over two thousand years! I’m always amazed (and very grateful) that our Savior chose to humble himself in coming to live and walk among us. His birth in a stable heralded a very different type of king indeed!

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