The word “hope” is bantered about often. We hope the Broncos start winning. We hope for a holiday bonus. We hope the vaccine makes a difference, that this pandemic is over sooner, that better days are ahead.
This world can be chaotic, filled with noise and calamity, unexpected challenges and heartbreak. Sometimes it feels downright hopeless. Perhaps Father Josef Mohr felt this way. His small congregation in Oberndorf, Austria. were simple people who looked forward to the Christmas Eve service. The priest strived to make the holiday service special.
As the story goes, in 1818, Father Mohr had a dilemma. The organ was old and broken. He expressed his dismay with his organist: What is Christmas without music?
On the day before Christmas Eve, the priest traveled afar to administer last rites to a parishioner. On his way home, he paused on a hill overlooking the village. Like the valley, he was embraced by darkness. The events had left him in despair: the useless organ, death, the cold night and long journey.
But then he saw it. In the dark, bleak night, a light from a distant home seemed to shine even brighter. He pondered: Could it have been like this, that silent, holy night in Bethlehem? Suddenly inspired, he hurried home and penned the words to “Silent Night.” One of the verses reads:
Silent night, peaceful night
Darkness flies, all is light
Shepherds hear the angels sing
Alleluia! Hail the King
Christ the Savior is born
The next morning, his organist Franz Gruber composed the melody. That special Christmas Eve, St Nicholas Church heard the first performance of this timeless song.
Therein lies the hope of Christmas. Christ the Savior is born. Look at His birth. A scandalous pregnancy, an abrupt census ordered, an untimely trip, a crowded inn. The events were seemingly crazy out of control. Yet, amidst the chaos, noise, calamity and heartbreak, a baby boy was born in a smelly stable, on purpose, for a purpose. This little baby became the King on the cross.
Our world is still blanketed in shadows. Death and fear encroaches. Mishaps try to crunch our joy. No matter what you may be facing, know the darkness flees when the light of Jesus shines. On Christmas morning, love is born, hope is here.
Article courtesy of Pastor Mickey Lohr, The River Church.