HOPE. PEACE. JOY. LOVE.
Wednesday, December 9
Rev. Brad Clayton, Associate Pastor, Congregational Care at Roswell Presbyterian Church
May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace!. - Psalm 29:11
When I think of peace during the Christmas season, I think of singing Silent Night with my family. The night that this great hymn was written was not a peaceful night at all. The words were composed on Christmas Eve in 1818 by Father Joseph Mohr in Oberndorf, Austria. Father Mohr came to church that morning to prepare for Christmas Eve mass, only to discover that the great organ of the church was not working. Mohr and the church organist, Franz Gruber, did everything they could to repair the organ for the evening services, but finally they realized it could not be fixed. Father Mohr knew the congregation would be disappointed because they always looked forward to the powerful organ music each year. He left the church to make several pastoral visits before the service, including one pastoral visit to the house of a humble woman who had just given birth to her first son. As he slowly walked back to the church, inspired by the birth of this new-born child, he began to think of the baby born in Bethlehem so many years ago, and he wrote the words to Silent Night. When he returned to the church he gave the words to Franz Gruber, and asked that he compose a melody for the words to sing at mass that night. Since the organ was broken, Gruber strummed the chords on a guitar, and the two men sang the song together at the Christmas Eve mass.
Sometimes our greatest gifts are born out of unmet expectations. The people of Israel were certainly waiting for more than a baby in a manger. But that baby was the greatest gift they could receive. Even when our expectations go unmet, God may have even greater gifts to give us.
Dear God, give us peace this Christmas season. Give our world peace, and our families peace. Help us to find our peace, hope, joy, and love in you. Amen