I’m quite certain it was anything but a quiet night in Bethlehem. Obviously the small town was overloaded with pilgrims returning to their home city to comply with Caesar Augustus’ demand for a census. We know this because it’s recorded in the Gospel of Luke, which is the most quoted rendition of the Christmas story. The birth of an infant son who will be called Jesus – “Emmanuel” or God-with-us!
Many of us have given birth. We did so in the sterile environment of a hospital with trained medical personnel to assist and the delightful medications that reduce the discomfort of labor. Everything about our joyful experience was immaculate.
Not so for Mary – nor Joseph. Certainly not so for the baby Jesus. There was no room anywhere that night in Bethlehem. Mary was well into labor by the time they arrived via donkey and after a frantic search for a quiet clean place to lodge; they settled on the innkeeper’s stable. Really – they had no other choice.
The stable was a dark, dank cave behind the inn in which the owner kept his animals, feed and other items necessary at the time. Certainly not the kind of place we would imagine the Son of God to be born. With a Father who is Creator of the Universe; one would think He could do better than a cold, dark and damp stable filled with smelly animals and their residue. Nonetheless, it was the place PAPA chose. A humble birthplace indeed!
As I reflect on that night, I imagine the hustle bustle and noise of the crowds outside, in contrast to the only sounds inside that of Mary in labor. I think of Joseph tenderly encouraging her as he carefully delivered their first born son. With nothing else to use, they wrapped him in the cloth everyone of that day carried on long journey’s – a “swaddling” cloth used to wrap the body of anyone who died while traveling.
Others took no notice of the events of the night. But not the shepherds who heeded the angels message and followed the brilliant star to the place of Jesus’ birth.
In the midst of the noise of that night, there was a hush. It came over the fields. It filled the dark damp cave in which Mary gave birth to a son and Joseph named him Jesus as they were instructed to do. From the silence came the Son of God who would give His life that we might enjoy the company of His Father – and now our Father!
We live in a modern age with more noise than Mary or Joseph could imagine. Our lives are more crowded than Bethlehem at census time. Many of us prefer it that way. We don’t want silence. . .
♥ A silence that screams at us to change our ways.
♥ A silence that implores us to look deeply in our hearts.
♥ A silence that requires us to stop what we are doing to do nothing but be still.
From the silence comes wisdom. From the silence of that wondrous night in a cold dark damp cave in the Judean hills came the Savior who is Christ the Lord.
When we stop long enough to encounter and engage the silence comes understanding, spiritual growth and a deeper relationship with ourselves. And one with others. Most of all – with Him.
So today as we prepare to celebrate the REASON for the season; let us make a promise to let silence envelope us. Let it enrich us so we grow in the grace, wisdom and maturity promised by the birth of an infant son in a cold dark damp cave behind an inn in Bethlehem on a crowded night just over 2000 years ago!
Blessings of the season,
Linda S. Fitzgerald, Visionary Partner & CEO
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[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://affiliatedwomeninternational.com//wp-content/uploads/2015/05/linda-google-NB-profile-pic.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]I have a ‘fiery’ passion to see women become all they are designed to be – personally, professionally and most of all – spiritually. I write, teach, mentor and coach with that passion in mind. As an author and prolific blogger, I reach out to women in all walks of life, especially women of faith to empower and equip them for greatness. [/author_info] [/author]