Silent Night Revisited
On Friday, December 9th, Nancy and I attended a wonderful cantata for congregation and choir call Carols by Heather Sorenson at our church, Zion Lutheran in Walburg, Texas. (This is available on their site for your viewing, too!) The congregation was an integral component of the music by singing along...
...When we got to the song Silent Night, it took me back to a service in 1972 when I attended a church service for the very first time. I had been invited by my late wife's parents to join the family at their Christmas Eve candlelight service. I wrestled with whether I should attend, but realized these were going to be my future in-laws.
That evening, I remember doing something that was very un-Jewish - I sat in the back row. Some people think maybe I was preparing to become a Lutheran with that! But I did so because I did not want to give offense by not knowing what would happen during a service. I just wanted to observe.
Surprisingly, I knew most of the music that evening from playing Christmas music in school choirs and bands as I grew up. At the end of the service, the pastor invited everyone in the small congregation to come to the front and stand in a circle. Each person brought with them a candle and gathered as the lights darkened.
From the front of the sanctuary, the pastor lit his candle lit from a candle on the altar. He then shared the light with the members standing in that circle. Out of the darkness grew a warmth, a glow, a presence of peace, hope and light as the members sang Silent Night.
I was sitting in the back row still in darkness. They had something I certainly did not have: faith in Jesus the Messiah and hope for the world to come!
Now, 50 years later, I remember that night as we sang Silent Night. I realize the blessing God has given: faith and salvation in Jesus the Messiah. As I consider the state our world is in these days, there is clearly more urgency for us to share this good news.
My prayer for you is that you not only know the joys and blessings our Lord has given to us through Jesus, but that you would willing and intentionally share this good news with those you know who do not yet know Jesus as the Messiah.
May God bless you richly at this Advent/Hanukkah season, and may you and yours stand firm in faith amid the trials and tribulations our world is facing these days.
Your co-laborer in Christ,
Steve Cohen is the founder of Apple of His Eye