How Still

December 11th 2015 No comments yet  

purple skyI was at my fourth of sixteen Christmas parties before I remembered what I was celebrating this season. In a blur of baking and shopping and wrapping and toasting, I had flown by the meaning of Christmas in my Christian life. In case you find yourself in similar hysterics, I’d love to share with you what caught me by the arm and pulled me into a peaceful embrace.

Growing up, I fell in love with classic hymns, and even now they have the power to bring my heart home. This year, it was the lyrics to this little old hymn that renewed the holiday spirit in me. Because I find these words so rich in meaning, I would like us to walk verse by verse through the song and remember with wonder our dear Savior’s birth. Today, let’s begin, as we would in singing, with verse one.

“O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie.
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep,
The silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.”

Much of this carol marvels at how the gift of our Savior was given—with remarkable humility. It begins by depicting the town of Bethlehem as a “little” or unremarkable place, quiet and still as it sleeps beneath the stars. But it also tells us this ordinary city bears an extraordinary gift: “Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light.” Bethlehem, small and insignificant on its own, held in its arms the precious Child who brought the light of salvation to our world.

The gravity of that salvation is captured in the following line, one of my favorites in the hymn: “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.” Centuries of anticipation led to Jesus’ birth, with countless prophesies and promises made to generations. The longing of creation for its reconciliation continues today as we wait for Him to return, so truly, every need of every generation, past and present, was filled in His birth—in a barn in little old Bethlehem.

What a wonder our God’s love is; what a mystery, His way of redeeming us. It gives me pause, and it’s a pause that I need, to remember what He gave to us.

I hope that His light fills your heart, and that you will be still again soon to think more of Him.

Written by Patricia Krecklow
Part one of a series.


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