“Peace I leave you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” (John 14:27)
This year I discovered what the funniest line in a Christmas carol is. It isn’t meant to invoke laughter, but it does for me. “The cattle are lowing, the poor baby wakes. But little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.”
The writer of Away in a Manger was undoubtedly trying to capture the first night of baby Jesus’ life on earth, a picture of peace and serenity that would befit the Prince of Peace. However, after living through a first night with a baby, I can’t help but chuckle.
But isn’t this the point. Jesus is different. Jesus is both divine and human, and so he lives a life that encompasses both. My prayer is that the radical peace that Jesus brings, that seems to come from another world, as Jesus assures us it does in the gospel of John, extends far beyond an infant on his birthday.
Just as babies do not get through their first nights without crying, the world does not get through a night without tears as well. There is too much pain and injustice in the world for anything else to be true. So may our hymns, our words, and our deeds every night and every day try to capture the divinity of a silent baby. May we be bearers of that peace in the world in such a way that we will not laugh but instead stand in awe of the radical peace that Jesus gives to us.
Peace in Christ,
Pr. Dan Joyner Miller