Friday, December 21, 2007

How Silently, How Silently, the Wondrous Gift is Given

Homiletic Reflection for Christmas Eve
Monday, December 24th, 2007 (7:00 p.m.)
Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Thornhill, ON
The Reverend Daniel F. Graves

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie.

Still – the still of night, the still of darkness, the still of sleep. But as this season has pressed in around us how difficult it is for us to be still. For those of us who have ever worked in a store during this season is there any sense of stillness? For those of us who have worked to prepare a Christmas feast for a large gathering of family and friends, can there be any sense of stillness? And for these little ones for whom excitement is heaped upon excitement, can there be any sense of stillness? Even our telling of the old, old story is bound up with frenzy, activity, and excitement! For it is after all, an exciting story.

In a world of constant coming and going, a world in which we live with a 24 hour clock and overnight shifts, and in a season when excitement runs high, it is hard for us to imagine that little town of Bethlehem, slumbering in a deep and dreamless sleep as silent stars go by. And yet, silent or frenzied though the world may be, though our lives may be, the angels still keep their watch of wondering love.

For into the dark streets of our lives – whether they be darkened by a frenzy that keeps us from slowing down to truly understand the blessings of life; whether they be darkened by loneliness or sadness through the loss of a loved one during this season; whether they be darkened by our feelings of failure over the mistakes we have made this past year or things that we ought to have done but have left undone; whatever our streets be darkened by, into our lives still shines an everlasting light.

It is a light that comes to us as we least expect it. It is a light that comes to us in the darkness of a dampened stable. It is a light that comes into the darkened streets of our lives. It is a gift that is given silently, O so silently – a wondrous gift. It is a light that illumines our dark places. It is light that shine over and around our frenzy, in and about our loneliness, and through our despair and regret. It is light that casts out our sin. It is a light that enters into our hearts and minds and souls and gathers us around a manger in which a tiny baby rests, silently, O so silently. And we behold his glory.

O Holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us we pray. Descend into our lives, into our darkness. Bring to us the stillness of peace that we might hear the Christmas angels, and their great, glad tidings. Come to us in our brokenness. Come to us, Lord Jesus, our one true light. Come and free us from all that enslaves us. Come to us, Holy Child, this night amidst our darkness, be born in us that others might hear in our song, those great glad tidings. Come to us, be born in us, our Lord, Emmanuel.

Copyright 2007, the Reverend Daniel F. Graves. This next may not be reproduced or redistributed either in whole or part without the express, written permission of the author.

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