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December 2021 - How Silently, The Gift Is Given

Updated: Jan 14, 2022

In the carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem” there is a lovely verse: How silently, how silently the wondrous Gift is giv’en

So God imparts to human hearts, the blessings of His heav’n;

No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,

Where meek souls will receive Him still,

The dear Christ enters in.

Silently – God sent an angel to a young girl named Mary, “… a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph..” (Luke 1.26) to tell her she had been chosen to bear a son and to name Him Jesus, who would be the Saviour of the world.

God gave His Son silently through the miraculous conception. Both Joseph and Mary were in shock, but in the silence of the night, God spoke to Joseph in a dream, instructing him to “take Mary home as our wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1.20).

When the boy Jesus got left behind after the Passover festival in Jerusalem, his parents had to double back and found him attending a religious tutorial with the temple teachers who were “amazed at his understanding and his answers” (Luke 2.47). Jesus reminded them that given His unique birth, they should have realized there was only one place they could have found him. This incident left a deep mark in Mary’s memory, which she silently treasured down the years (v 51).

Three years later when Jesus was crucified, Philip the evangelist described him as being “led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth” - meaning Jesus did not resist suffering and dying for us (Ac 8.32). But three days later that silence was broken by the roar of His Resurrection! From that point onwards, Jesus’ disciples could not keep silent. They went everywhere proclaiming the Gospel of a Saviour who had died, was buried and raised from the dead for all people everywhere. We too must break our silence and speak about this wonderful Christ.

“In quietness (or silence) and trust shall be your strength.” Isaiah 26.3. Amid the clamour of commercialized Christmas, we must break away to find our silence. Firstly to reflect thoughtfuly on the awesomeness of the Incarnation. Secondly, to recalibrate our noisy, over-saturated lives. Thirdly we must resolve each day, to find pockets of silence to pray, think and enjoy God. We can also bless others with silent acts of kindness, and silent prayers for our needy world. We shall not become people of substance without solitude and silence. Don’t avoid silence; it may be the very means by which God speaks loudest to you.

Pastor Graham

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