The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)

Silent Night. Holy Night. It is impossible to read or say those four words without that familiar tune running through your head. For me, as I am guessing it is for many of you, Christmas time and that hymn, those words, are synonymous.

As a child I always thought that singing Silent Night at the end of the liturgy was the moment when Christmas Eve became what the words say it is, a truly holy night. The heat and glow of the candlelight. The harmonies of the choir. The holiness of that moment was always palpable. The residual heat from all the candles seemed to follow you outside into the cold, as if you took the warmth of Christmas with you.

But of course, holiness does not come from candles or even singing. Those things in and of themselves are not holy. But it is Christ who is the source of all holiness. This is what the angel declared to Mary so long ago. So, if candles are holy it is because they symbolize the holiness of Christ’s light. If singing is holy it is because the words and music give glory to the one who himself is holy.

This Christmas we will not have a packed church full of candlelight. But the night will still be holy, and perhaps a little more silent. For Christ we will say, is born, as holiness incarnate has once more been made known on earth.

Peace in Christ,

Pr. Dan Joyner Miller