Silent Night, Holy Night

 The second wave of Covid-19 is hitting us especially hard here in Alberta.  My small town of Cochrane has had over fifty active cases and a staggering number of people have been diagnosed province-wide with the virus.  To combat the spread, our Provincial Government is forced to place more restrictions on us.  On the minds of everyone is, “How do we celebrate Christmas this year?”

We are told that we can no longer have any kinds of indoor gatherings other than those who live in the same household together.  We cannot have outdoor gatherings with numbers of more than ten people, and even if we keep the numbers to ten outside, we must all wear masks, keep distance from one another, and not share food.  Keeping in mind Alberta temperatures can dip to -25 degrees Celsius, so meeting outside may not be an option.

I have three married adult children and five grandchildren.  Including my husband and I, that makes thirteen loved ones whom I had hoped to gather on Christmas Eve for our dinner and gift opening.  There is the strong likelihood that we may not be able to do that this year due to the Covid restrictions.  For my husband and I, it would mark the first time we would be alone for Christmas since our children were born.  

And it is breaking my heart.

2020 is a year best forgotten I suppose.  I keep hearing people say it was the “worst” year ever!  I would imagine to many who are experiencing financial hardship, grief, isolation, and anxiety brought on by this pandemic, 2020 may be the most challenging year some have ever faced.  I can’t say that personally.

2020 was my “recovery” year from my battle with cancer in 2019.  I celebrated strength, stamina and my hair returning!  My youngest daughter was married in July, and my fifth grandchild was born to my son and daughter-in-love the day before the wedding.  My husband and I managed to get out camping quite a bit to combat the Covid blues.  Just being able to enjoy the great outdoors kept our minds off the stresses brought on by forced lockdowns.  We took long drives, exploring sights we had all but taken for granted before Covid forced everyone to change travel plans.  My oldest daughter and son-in-love sold their house quite unexpectedly and are now building their “forever” home only ten minutes away from us.  Although we do not know what will happen in the days or weeks to come, my children still have jobs, we all have homes, and we all have our health.  All things considered; I certainly cannot call it the “worst” year for us as a family. 

Setting up my Christmas tree this year, I put on a DVD with a compilation of all my favourite Christmas hymns, carols and songs, to force myself to get into the spirit of the season.  I tried to sing along to some of them, but admittedly my heart just was not into it until I heard “Silent Night“.    

Silent Night“, written by an Austrian priest named, Joseph Mohr just after the end of the Napoleonic Wars, was an attempt to bring a sense of hope to his little congregation who had suffered through twelve years of war and were now experiencing bitter cold and widespread famine.  Mohr hoped that the song’s message of peace and of God’s goodness in giving us the Gift of His Son, would speak into the hearts of those who were experiencing such hardship in 1818.  

Silent Night” has always been one of my most beloved Christmas songs.  We sing it every Christmas Eve at church and at home.  It describes so melodically what my Danish parents always called the night before Christmas: “Hygge Aften”.  

“Hygge” is a Danish word used to acknowledge a feeling or moment.  “Aften” is the Danish word for “evening”.  Many of my Danish relatives will tell you that “Hygge” cannot be translated adequately into English because there is no one word to describe it.  To experience a sense of “hygge” is to be fully present in the moment, to recognize the blissful feeling of tranquility; to be in a state of perfect peace.  The Nativity scene, with Mary embracing Baby Jesus in her arms while He sleeps in heavenly peace, is the closest I can come to describing a visual representation of the first perfect “Hygge Aften”. 

“Silent night, Holy night

All is calm, all is bright

Round yon virgin, mother and child

Holy infant, tender and mild

Sleep in heavenly peace,

Sleep in heavenly peace.”

My husband and I are already thinking about how we might be spending this Christmas without our family gathered around us.  I know we will profoundly feel the silence of the night, without our children and grandbaby voices and laughter around us.  It will be a far different Christmas than the one I had thought we would have, but I am still determined this year to experience “Hygge Aften” with the same sense of wonderment as I do every year.  I will purposefully immerse myself in quiet contemplation of what Christmas is all about.  I choose to fully embrace the Joy of the Season giving praise to God for the incomparable Gift of His Son given to us on the most holy of nights.  

The song “Silent Night” alludes to the fact that the first Christmas was not at all what was expected on that starry night over two thousand years ago.  Although the Saviour of the world was prophesied, no one expected a King would be born in such lowly estate, with angels heralding His birth.  The shepherds never imagined that a baby lying in a manger would be their Deliverer and mine as well.

“Silent night, Holy night

Shepherds quake, at the sight

Glories stream from heaven above

Heavenly, hosts sing Hallelujah.

Christ the Savior is born,

Christ the Savior is born.”

“Silent night, Holy night

Son of God, loves pure light

Radiant beams from Thy Holy Face

With the dawn of redeeming grace,

Jesus, Lord, at Thy Birth!

Jesus, Lord, at Thy Birth!”

The first three verses of “Silent Night” I know so well, but it is the rest of the song I seldom sing that have a poignant meaning for me this Christmas as never before:

“Silent night, Holy night

Here at last, healing light

From the heavenly kingdom sent,

Abundant grace for our intent.

Jesus, salvation for all.

Jesus, salvation for all.”

Every year I pray that friends and family will accept the Gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ, and that the Good News will bring the promise of Hope to a lost and hurting world.  Singing the last two verses of “Silent Night” becomes my heartfelt prayer for 2021, that each of us would be reminded that God is in control, no matter our circumstances.  I pray for that peace that surpasses understanding as we celebrate, each in our own way in 2020, and look forward with great anticipation to the New Year ahead.

“Silent night, Holy night

Sleeps the world in peace tonight.

God sends His Son to earth below

A Child from whom all blessings flow

Jesus embraces mankind.

Jesus embraces mankind.”

“Silent night, Holy night

Mindful of mankind’s plight

The Lord in Heav’n on high decreed

From earthy woes we would be freed

Jesus, God’s promise for peace.

Jesus, God’s promise for peace.”

Amen!

(read more of the history of  the song, “Silent Night” here: https://theconversation.com/the-humble-origins-of-silent-night-108653) and the translations of the song: https://www.stillenacht.at/en/text-and-music

This entry was posted in Proverbs 16:9 - Journey Thoughts and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Silent Night, Holy Night

  1. Pingback: Winter Solstice | Lynn Dove's Journey Thoughts

  2. Virginia Isaac says:

    Hi sister in Christ
    Going through few pictures on Google, I came across this page.
    So glad I opened and read your posts. So encouraging. Each one has taught me new insights and inspiring me to look more towards the Saviour.
    God bless you all the way from Bangalore, India.
    Virginia

  3. Annie Skidmore says:

    This is beautiful. Thank you for the encouragement. ❤️

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