When we sing Silent Night, it’s easy to think, Christmas is not a silent night. In fact, if I could have just one silent night, I’d settle for that. But, that first Christmas was anything but silent because the echoes of what happened that night are still ringing through history.
The Power of Silent Night
Before Travis Tritt was a country music star, he played in a lot of dangerous bars where drunk fans started fights over the littlest things. So he figured out how he could calm everybody down. He said: “‘Silent Night’ was my all-time lifesaver. Just when [bar fights] started getting out of hand, when bikers were reaching for their pool cues and rednecks were heading for the gun rack, I’d start playing ‘Silent Night.’ It could be in the middle of July—I didn’t care. Sometimes they’d even start crying, standing there watching me sweat and play Christmas carols.”
Where Did Silent Night Come From?
Joseph Mohr was the assistant priest at the Church of St. Nicholas high in the Alps, and Franz Gruber, was the church organist. They had talked about the fact that the perfect Christmas carol had never been written. So, when Mohr found out that the church organ was broken, he thought they should try to write to the perfect Christmas carol for their Christmas Eve worship service. He took the words to Franz Gruber, who shouted, “Friend Mohr, you have found it—the right song—God be praised!”
Quickly, Gruber wrote the simple but beautiful music in time for the Christmas Eve service, and they sang their new song with an acoustic guitar accompaniment. When this song was written by two humble church leaders for their own mountain village church, they didn’t realize how universal its influence would be. Today it is sung in all major languages of the world.
5 Wrong Places we look to for Peace
There’s something about Christmas and Jesus that reminds us of God’s promise of peace. It seems this year has been anything but peaceful. Our peace is in pieces. Where do we usually try to find peace? Here are 5 wrong sources of peace that we turn to:
Peace isn’t the absence of problems. Peace is the presence of God.
On that first Christmas, the angel that showed up in the field outside of Bethlehem to announce Jesus’ birth to the shepherds, said, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Luke 2:14
Christmas is a promise of peace on earth. But we live in a time where it seems like peace isn’t even possible. If peace is possible, it has to happen in the middle of a world of problems.
5 Points of Personal Peace
Hit the Pause button. We have to learn to practice the Pause because we weren’t made to be busy all the time. We have to take time to recharge.
You’d think if anyone was too busy to pause, it would have been Jesus. But Jesus practiced the pause. There’s power in the Pause. You actually can accomplish more when you regularly push the pause button. Jesus paused because He knew His peace came from God. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God!” When you pause, you remember God is in control.
How often should we pause? God set a pattern in place at Creation. He worked for 6 days and rested for one. We should take at least one day a week to rest, to re-create, and to play, and worship.
We should pause daily. 10 minutes is less than .7 percent of your whole day? That 10 minutes can bring us peace that lasts all day long.
Have you ever done one of those white elephant gift exchanges where everyone gets something they don’t want? You bring a great gift, and you end up with a bad gift.
But that’s what happens between us and God all the time. We bring God our sin and He brings us forgiveness. We bring God our problems and He exchanges them for His peace. That’s the Great Exchange!
When we have problems, we can choose to worry about them or give them to God. We can either worry or worship.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)
Worry and worship can’t be in the same place. So next time you have a worry, or if there’s something you are worried about today, turn your worry list into your prayer list.
Accept my limitations. There are things that you can’t control in life. We need to quit focusing on our limited power and focus on His unlimited power. The very thing that you thought would be a limitation is the very thing that God will use to bring glory to Himself.
Think about Mary, Jesus’ mother. She was young, probably only 13-15 years old, very poor. She was from Nazareth, a town that everyone looked down on, the wrong side of the tracks. And to top it off, she wasn’t married. In fact, she was still a virgin. Mary had so many limitations that she could have used as an excuse to keep her from experiencing peace. But God chose her to be the mother of Jesus. God used her despite her limitations. And in Luke 1:38, she said, Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to do whatever he wants. May everything you said come true.” And then the angel disappeared.
When you don’t accept your limitations, you miss God’s peace. All of us have this limitation in common: you don’t have enough power to have peace all by yourself. We have to go to an outside power. We need God to work in our life for us to have an ongoing peace.
I need to confess my sins. Sin is doing anything that goes against God’s standard. Sins are impure thoughts, or impure actions. We do things God doesn’t want us to do. We don’t do the things He wants us to do. And we do those things all the time. So we need to confess every day, because we sin every day. When you have sin in your life, your peace goes out the window. Ask God to purify your heart so you can have peace in your heart.
One of the greatest promises in the Bible is in 1 John 1:9. “But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”
There is amazing peace that comes when you confess. And when you confess, you’re not telling God something that He doesn’t already know. He’s not shocked. He’s God. But when we don’t confess, we miss out on the peace that He wants to give us.
God wants you to enjoy His peace forever. Peace isn’t something temporary. Peace can last your whole life long. Why don’t we have that lasting peace in our own hearts? Why don’t we have peace with the people around us? We don’t have peace with others, because we don’t have peace with ourselves. And we don’t have peace with ourselves because we don’t have peace with God. God wants to give you eternal peace that starts now and lasts forever. God’s plan for giving us the gift of peace is through Jesus.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3
A Christmas Truce
In the early days of the first world war in which 15 million people would die, 20 million more were wounded. It was the largest scale of casualties in human history. Less than 6 months into the war, soldiers from both sides were locked into trench warfare, holding their lines against the opposing army. It was Christmas Eve, 1914. During the night of Christmas Eve and on the following Christmas day, soldiers from both sides declared an unofficial “truce.”
Some say it started when Christmas Carols were being sung in German, and were echoes back in English and French. English bagpipers accompanied German soldiers singing “Silent Night.”
Throughout the night, soldiers exchanged greetings, and by daylight, many ventured across the barbed wire into “no mans land” to shake hands with their enemies. The men exchanged buttons from their uniforms, cigarettes, and Christmas treats from home. One English private wrote home to tell his parents how much the Germans loved mom’s “Christmas Pudding.” He wrote “if we would have had an ample supply of Christmas pudding, every German on the lines would have surrendered.”
On that night, the world was at peace in the middle of the war. That’s the power of peace through the presence of Jesus! And you can have that peace by surrendering your life to Jesus!
The Gift of Peace
Jesus said, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27 (NLT)
And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Colossians 3:15 (NLT)
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Romans 5:1