Thoughts from Dale Steenbergen –
There are things we experience in life that just seem to stick with us. For me, one of those experiences was a presentation I heard at chapel as a student at Oklahoma Baptist University. That professor has forever left a mark on my memory. My Christmas message is a short recap of that presentation.
We often sit in the church pew and sing the song Silent Night at Christmas time – you can listen for yourself below. Really, when I stop and think of it, the night was anything but silent.
Factually, if we read the biblical story of Christmas, it was painful, loud, tiresome, smelly, messy, and stressful. How can I use adjectives like painful and loud to talk about the “greatest story ever told?” Because it’s true. Think about it for a minute. Go back with me over 2000 years and think about a young couple living under tyrannical rule, and having to travel a long distance by foot to reach their destination. Think about the teenage girl – heavy in pregnancy and scared to death to give birth to her first child. Imagine the smells of a stable as the couple desperately tries to settle down for a rest with the brays of donkeys or the mooing of cows or the bleating of sheep. Consider a first mother’s pain of childbirth and her husband’s desperate concern for her safety in a time when no doctor or medical assistance was available. Ponder all of these things and imagine that from this ordinary situation of pain, noise, and discomfort came hope, love, wonder, and faith.
As we approach this Christmas, keep in mind that the wonder of Christmas comes – not from the extraordinary – but from the ordinary. What makes Christmas miraculous is that from a smelly, painful, loud, tiresome, and mundane situation came an event that would impact the entire world.
I hope that regardless of your faith or tradition that you take solace in the message of a “not so Silent Night.” Life is often miraculous if we just take a moment to appreciate it. I hope in this season you pause for a moment and think about the miracle of your own life upon this earth and how much you have to be thankful for.
Merry Christmas, God bless you, and may peace, happiness, and prosperity be with you throughout the New Year.
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