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  • Matt Beaney

#717. SILENT NIGHT (22/12/22)

Leading up to Christmas Day, I thought it would be good to look at 15 of the most popular carols (chosen by Classic FM listeners) and consider the content and what we can learn from them.


A reflection based on SILENT NIGHT, number 2 in our chart of most popular carols.


LYRICS

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


Silent night, holy night!

Shepherds quake at the sight.

Glories stream from heaven afar

Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia,

Christ the Saviour is born!

Christ the Saviour is born

Silent night, holy night!

Son of God love's pure light.

Radiant beams from Thy holy face

With dawn of redeeming grace,

Jesus Lord, at Thy birth

Jesus Lord, at Thy birth


We don’t know how silent, calm or bright the night was on Jesus’ birth. We don’t know if Jesus did ‘sleep in heavenly peace’! There is a danger of so focusing on Jesus’ deity that we fail to honour His true humanity - Jesus was a true human baby. It’s unlikely that Jesus’ face was exuding ‘radiant beams from thy holy face’. This carol is so very beautiful that we can lose touch with the humility and humanity of the context of Jesus’ birth.


However, there is great truth in this carol. The peace of the words and tune, if romanticised, do communicate something of the peace and calm that Jesus wants to bring to our lives even in the most trying circumstances. In the darkest and trying of nights we can experience a ‘peace that passes understanding’.


‘Christ the Saviour is born’. He has come with ‘redeeming grace’. Although the circumstances of Jesus’ birth may have been more difficult that this carol intimates, Jesus' birth has the power to give true peace. In Christ we can know ‘heavenly peace’ because ‘Christ the Saviour is born’.


TAKE A MOMENT TO LISTEN TO THIS CAROL:



 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Hopefully, see you on Christmas Morning from 10:00-11:00.

There is no service on 1st January.

 

2. Icebreaker

What has God been speaking to you about from your Bible reading recently?

 

3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group


On Sunday we looked at what it means for Jesus to be Immanuel.


Please read Matthew 1:18-24


Matthew gives us three names or titles for Jesus:

  1. Jesus - God Saves

  2. Messiah - The anointed King

  3. Immanuel - God with us


WHAT DOES IMMANUEL MEAN?


1. IMMANUEL - GOD WITH US IN THE PAST

Immanuel, which means 'God with us', refers to the belief that God, in the form of Jesus, came to Earth as a human being. This event, known as the incarnation, is celebrated during Christmas. The Chalcedonian Creed, a statement of Christian belief from the 5th century, affirms that Jesus had both a divine and human nature, without mixing or altering either.

Jesus’ divine and human natures are beautifully set in the carol, O Come All Ye Faithful:

‘God of God Light of light Lo He abhors not the virgin's womb Very God Begotten not created’

2. IMMANUEL MEANS: GOD WITH US IN THE PRESENT

In addition to Jesus' presence on Earth in the past, the term Immanuel also refers to Jesus' presence with us through the Holy Spirit in the present. He has promised:


“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” (John 14:15-121)

3. IMMANUEL IS THE PROMISE OF HIS FUTURE PRESENCE FILLING ALL THINGS


Finally, Immanuel speaks to the promise of Jesus' future return and the renewal of the Earth with God's glory. According to the book of Revelation, this will be a time when God dwells among people, wiping away all tears and pain, and creating a new heaven and earth."

‘Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”’ (Revelation 21:1-5)

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

i. Did you feel that God spoke to you from any particular aspect of Sunday's message?

ii. What does it mean for Jesus to be Immanuel?

ii. How can we ensure that we focus and help others to focus on Jesus being Immanuel during this Christmas season?

ii. How does the title Immanuel bring comfort and joy to us?


PRAYER AND SIV

SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories of sharing your faith?

SIV- Let's pray for those that God has put on our hearts.





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