Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Silently The Wondrous Gift is Given

Lettering by my friend @rach_forsyth

This season is so noisy.

There are crackers and pantomimes and those ties covered in elves or snowmen that will sing at you in increasing degrees of off-keyness as their batteries die and adverts that everyone has loud opinions on featuring that folk version of what used to be a normal sounding song and there are increasingly hideous Christmas jumpers and there's that house on the corner that looks like it has melting neon reindeers all over it and there is TV Christmas specials featuring what we refer to as “celebrities” trying to compensate for their lack of actual fame in volume and there is tinsel, a visual version of all of the above noise.

All this is going on over the top of a whole host of other loudnesses.

There's hatred, ignorance, heartbreak, persecution, desperate sickness, violence, war- and then countless, countless words being spoken about it. And what we need is Jesus. We need the Word made flesh; Light shining in the darkness; the Truth revealed.

And meanwhile, we sing:

How silently, how silently- the wondrous gift is given.

Part of me wishes that Jesus had come to earth more loudly. Part of me wishes that it didn't seem, from a worldly perspective, so insignificant.

But actually, as I sing these words I feel such deep joy; the silence of his coming is joyful news!

Because his silence is his laying aside of his glory, it's good news of great joy being secured.

Jesus was born to us. Jesus was a child, given to us. He became vulnerable, tiny, dependent- so that he might truly be with us, truly be for us, truly be on our side.

His coming seemed quiet because Jesus came to be a light in; the grimmest, most brutal, devastating darkness there is. His redemption comes through his embracing weakness and poverty and danger and rejection and violence and humiliation and shame and death. His redemption comes to us because when it came it didn’t look like glory; it looked like suffering and death.

Maybe your Christmas will feel like an anti-climax. As you sit around the left-overs of Christmas dinner in a crumpled paper hat, navigating the same old family squabbles, feeling like nothing has changed, remember that Jesus came quietly.

The wondrous gift is given in silence. He came quietly, and seemingly insignificantly, with glory and comfort and noise laid aside- but because he did, the people walking in darkness have seen a great light.

He has taken on the quietness of our humanity completely, so that he might represent us perfectly, and give us Light eternally.

One day he will come, and it will not be so quiet.

But until then, the kingdom continues to grow quietly- with light shining in dark hearts, one by one by one.

(This choice is not ironic: I love it!)

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