Can you imagine what it was like? This day over 2000 years ago?
I love songs that we sing about that 1st Christmas Eve night…Silent Night, O Holy Night, The First Noel, It Came Upon A Midnight Clear. They are beautiful and the combination of music & lyrics fills me with hope and wonder.
However, I just have to wonder what it was really like. Joseph and Mary were there for a census. There were LOTS of people around…I mean, obviously, because they couldn’t find a place to sleep – remember? Can you just sit for a moment and think about the noise level that had to exist? This was 2000 years ago when village life was the culture. The locals were trying to sell their goods, the ones they had stocked up on in preparation for the influx of people. The innkeepers were excited about having no vacancies and the cooks thrilled to be cooking for newcomers. Bethlehem was a bustling town!
I try my best to always remember that the characters in these Bible stories we read, they do not know the outcome of their stories like we do. Can you imagine the discouragement that Mary must have been feeling? How about Joseph’s frustration at not being able to find a place to rest for his very pregnant wife? They had no idea that mangers would be sold in stores across America thousands of years later as a symbol of the night our Savior was born. They didn’t know. They couldn’t have known.
What they must have seen as an absolute last resort – was indeed the Lord’s provision. It was His perfect plan. And in that manger? Surrounded by all of the animals? I’m guessing it was anything but a Silent Night.
But then, when Jesus was born…was there a hush? Did all of creation know that it’s Creator had joined them on this earth? What did it feel like to give birth to the One who created you? It’s mind boggling to say the least. And then strangers showed up (with more animals), wanting to see the Savior. Angels singing glorious refrains in the heavens…it had to be loud guys. A holy loudness. That’s my best guess.
Isn’t that how our lives should look? Life is loud, constant, busy, fast, full…and while we are called to “be still” sometimes, the Word also makes it pretty clear that our lives should be loud too – reverberating with a holy loudness. If we aren’t praising Him then He says the rocks will. We are to be loudly proclaiming, joyously telling, gratefully sharing – the gift that is Jesus. The salvation of the baby boy who was born to die so that we may live.