Silent Night

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It’s Christmas and my cups are out! Can’t help but smile when you sip hot coffee from a cheerful Christmas mug. This year as part of my own devotion I plan to read a Christmas carol each day. The words are so rich, and I don’t want to miss the message behind the words. Often they were composed with a specific purpose, other times written from a moving experience of the heart, but they always tell the story of salvation in the language of music. Who doesn’t get teary eyes watching little boys in bath robes and sweet little girls with crooked halos singing “Away in a Manger.”

Today the song on my heart is Silent Night. Most of us know the story of the broken organ in a small Austrian village. Joseph Mohr, the priest, had just watched a troupe of traveling actors present the nativity play and his heart was deeply moved. Rather than going home he walked in hushed silence to a hill overlooking the little village. His heart swelled as he reflected on the birth of the Messiah in the stillness of the snowy evening. “Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright.” Could he visualize the events that quietly took place so long ago in another small villiage in Israel? In Bethlehem? “Round yon virgin, mother and child. Holy infant so tender and mild.”

Suddenly that tranquil night was filled with light and angels! “Shepherds quake at the sight!”

The next day he shared this moment and poem with his friend and fellow priest, Franz Gruber. Franz composed a simple melody on the guitar and Silent Night was sung in the tiny little villiage of Oberndorf, Austria, at midnight on Christmas Eve.

Silent Night

By Joseph Mohr & Franz Gruber

Silent night, holy night, All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child. Holy infant, so tender and mild.
Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, holy night, Shepherds quake at the sight;
Glories stream from heaven afar, Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born!

Silent night, holy night, Son of God, love’s pure light;
Radiant beams from thy holy face With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth, Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

 

Silent night, holy night, Wondrous Star lend thy light;
With the Angels let us sing Alleluia to our King.
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth, Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

The first verse ends with “sleep in heavenly peace.” I hope today you will sing all of the verses to this beautiful carol and may you also sleep in heavenly peace, because he came.

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“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11 NKJV)

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Cups

Cup of Promise
Cup of Promise

During the Christmas season every morning I drank from a different Christmas cup and shared it on Facebook. That was so much fun, like having coffee with friends every morning.

Delicate tea cup
Delicate tea cup

This morning as I reached for my morning cup of coffee I thought about my favorite cups. There are many kinds of cups: tea cups, grandmama’s cup, mugs, and the list goes on.

 

But this morning I’m thinking of another cup. This cup is a cup of healing, deliverance, freedom and joy. This cup came at a very high price to the giver and is free to the taker. The communion cup. It too comes in many shapes and sizes, but the one size fits all who would drink from it.

At our church we have been encouraged to take communion in our homes every day in preparation for the coming year. This has already become so special to us. At some time during the day BJ and I share communion with each other and the Lord. BJ was gone for a couple of days and I took communion with just me and the Lord. How wonderful to have this privilege and freedom. I encourage you to take time to do the same in your home too.

Cup of Joy
Cup of Redemption

As you lift that cup you remember the cost. It cost Him everything. Isaiah 53 says, “But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us…. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed…. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him. He was beaten, he was tortured, but he didn’t say a word.” (The Message)

It’s very sobering to stop and meditate on that scripture. To remember.

Yet later in Isaiah 61 he explains why he was willing to suffer.  “To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” (The NKJV)

So this cup, this precious cup, is two fold. It is the cup of His suffering, but it becomes the cup of His joy.

Do you feel your life is turning to ashes? Drink from this cup and exchange your ashes for His beauty. Are you mourning the loss of dreams, hopes or someone special? Drink from this cup and exchange your loss for His joy and dare to hope again.  What’s happening in your life today that causes you to be heavy hearted? Drink from this cup and exchange your heaviness for a spirit of praise and thanksgiving.

Covenant!
Cup of Covenant and Joy

I would love to hear from you as you share this cup with Him. It’s made such a difference for us. My prayer is that it will make a difference for you too.