A Vincentian View: A Cry in the Silence

by | Dec 20, 2023 | Formation, Reflections | 1 comment

Of all the songs associated with the Christmas season, is there any more widely known or sung than “Silent Night”? I think that at every Christmas pageant or show that I have ever attended, this song ends the celebration.  One cannot imagine a Christmas album that does not contain this classic.  I am sure that part of the reason for its popularity is the beautiful music, but this is matched by the touching words that capture a scene and an experience.

Silent Night, Holy night,
All is calm, all is bright.
Round yon Virgin, mother and child,
Holy infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

We feel the calm and quiet of the scene.  The night sky and the stars are part of the image.  If you are like me, you imagine the evening as clear, perhaps a little cool, and silent and peaceful.  Then, the sound of a newborn child’s cry breaks the silence:  Jesus is born.   In the midst of the silent night, there is the sound of life.  And, we are filled with joy.

This is Jesus’ first breath.  It is the first of so many which he will take during the course of his life.  What does he say in this first sound?  Let me suggest three interpretations:

  1. A Proclamation:  He announces, “I am here.    God is present with his people.”  The world is now forever changed.  Jesus proclaims that truth with his first breath.  Let us welcome that good news.  God is with us!
  2. An Affirmation: He declares:  “I share your life.”  The breath that gives him life also will bring life to his brothers and sisters.  His words carried on his life breath will bring instruction and comfort.  He will speak words that heal and forgive and give nourishment to others.  His life will be shared with all kinds of people and he will continue to draw these breaths until he breathes his last on Calvary.
  3. An Invitation: He calls “Come to me.”  Shepherds and magi will hear that summons in these nights.  Faithful men and women of Israel will seek him out in the coming weeks to see the fulfillment of the divine promises.  All during his life, Jesus will proclaim this message by both his words and demeanor.  People from every walk of life and every level of society will come to him and find a welcome, particularly those who are in need.

On this silent night, this holy night, we hear the voice of Jesus for the first time, and with this cry he tells us many things:  I am with you; I share your life; come to me.  Our brother has come from our Father to tell of his love and care.  In the silence of the night, we hear life promised and proclaimed.  We gather with joy-filled hearts and thankfully praise our God as a faith-filled community.  God is with us!


1 Comment

  1. Tom M

    Very moving…