While stillness is key for this connection, it is an allusion that this state is circumstantial. Most of us have discovered the reality; Christmas is not synonymous with silent, calm, and serene. It never has been. Stillness is an action we choose. On that first Christmas in the stable, the cows did not cease to moo, nor did the sheep fail to bleat. Mice rustled the hay and dust particles stirred the air enough to provoke a sneeze or two. Certainly, the shepherds arrived in a flurry of excitement rather than with a quiet tiptoe. Wind whistled through the slatted wood, and outside, life carried on as usual, shouts and laughter punctuating daily tasks. The Savior’s birth didn’t silence the noise. Reverence for Him did. Stillness settled upon the hearts of the child-gazers when THEY stopped and beheld him, not when life stopped for them.
For each of them, the peace of Christmas started with their response to God’s Word.
“Be it unto me…” Mary had said.
Joseph had laid down his carpenter’s tools and reached for Mary’s hand.
Over the rock-dotted hillside, the shepherds had run, robes hoisted around pumping legs as they acted on what they’d heard.
Subsequently, each of these gathered around the manger and came face-to-face with the promise of God unfolding in their reality. They considered the prophesy unveiled before their eyes. That’s when stillness shut out the hubbub, as if all had grown silent and motionless.
“A child is born...” The son was given. God’s unwrapped gift lay in swaddling clothes, like a present waiting to be explored. The tiny group stared, eyes riveted to the tiny bundle as awe flooded their hearts.
“...the government shall be upon his shoulder…” A finger edged with a dirt-encrusted nail reached out to stroke pink baby skin. Shepherd-like, this wee one would carry the weight of dominion on his shoulder. The miracle of it provoked a smile as the one who’d hoisted sheep after sheep around his neck saw the similarities between himself and the Promised one. Personal connection was made as he saw himself in the image of God, shepherd to Shepherd. Each of the others pondered similar musings: flesh to flesh, vulnerability to vulnerability, need to need, life to life.
With the sharpened focus of stillness, each glimpsed greater understanding of who God was.
“His name shall be called…” Those staring at the swaddled infant, considered the God-identity wrapped in flesh before them. What they experienced heralds the purpose and the reward of stillness: relationship with the holy.
Like them, when we are still, we can know Him (Psalm 46:10), our Promise and Savior.
“Wonderful.” Moments of mindfulness reveal He is wonder-filled. A closer look divulges intricacies lying within simplicity. Stillness causes us to marvel at His splendor.
“Counselor.” Pausing for Christ permits us to unburden ourselves, to talk to the One who has the comfort and answers we need. He speaks, and when we become still, we can hear His voice even when clamoring is all around.
“The Mighty God.” With bodies calm, our minds explore more of God’s gift to us, and we begin to rest in His total power and sovereignty. We trade our human-sized supply for mightier, God-sized provision.
“The Everlasting Father.” Stillness allows us to be nurtured and loved. It allows us to enjoy intimate fellowship with the One who really knows us. It gives us the opportunity to rejoice in a rich relationship where our affections are never misplaced and where we feel the security of a forever love.
“The Prince of Peace.” Stillness encourages us to look at the future with hope. With such a just and righteous King in charge of our eternity, what worry can we have?
Christmas beckons to us. “Respond to the Word. Come aside, into the secret place with Christ. Like those crowded around the manger, come see what others miss. God is in the stillness.”
When we heed the call of Christmas, we unwrap the Gift of Heaven. All becomes calm and definitely much brighter. Our hearts are filled with real peace and joy, and right in the middle of the chaos, we experience a wonder of the silent and holy.
Tip/Tidbit: Incorporate God moments into your busy schedule. Do things that will set your mind on Him WHILE you are running errands and attending to tasks. Stay up late or get up early to have time for just you and God. Pause throughout the day and ask yourself if God has spoken anything to your heart. Have you had someone on your mind? Then pray for them. Has a nudging been in your spirit? Take action to do whatever it directs. Answer the call of Christ, and you'll answer the call of Christmas.