Silent Night and the Loud Man in Front of Me

I went to a candle light service on Christmas Eve.

And just like many of you, my favorite part was at the end of the service - holding my candle high while singing Silent Night. With relief, longing, and joy, everyone’s voices rise in unison to sing out “Chriiiiiist theeeeee Savioooorr is boooorn”.

But this year’s rendition of Silent Night was different. And honestly, looking back I’m glad it didn’t go as smoothly as it normally does. It was better this way.

There was a man with special needs sitting a few pews in front of me and he was singing. Loudly. Like, really loudly. And he wasn’t getting the words exactly right, and his timing was off.

And I won’t lie to you.  At first I wasn’t super pumped about it. I’m not asking for much. Remember, Silent Night is my thing. I didn’t want to have to deal with a really loud guy in front of me singing off key. No hiccups. No missteps. Just a perfect Silent Night. I wanted it my way.

But by God’s grace, I quickly saw the beauty of it all.

I realized that him singing super loudly wasn’t a hiccup or a misstep. It wasn’t distracting – it was disarming, unrestricted, and relatable. The guy was singing his heart out. More than anyone else in there that night, that man was genuinely celebrating the birth of Christ.

The man with special needs in front of me is exactly what worship is all about. He meant the words he was singing. He was excited. He was present. He was there to worship. It’s irrelevant if he had the words right or if his pitch was perfect. Is the point of singing Silent Night to sound “good”?  No.          

The point is that Christ the Savior is born.

The point is that Jesus Christ is finally here.

The Son of God, the living breathing actual Son of God has been born onto planet earth.

The one promised to save us from all of our sorrows, the one who’s going to defeat death itself? Yeah, he’s here. We should sing loudly.

I’m so thankful God put that man in front of me Christmas Eve. God used his authentic worship to show me how inauthentic mine had been. Honestly I came in wanting a perfect performance. I came into church wanting Silent Night checked off the list of Christmas traditions. I came in worried about myself.

I left filled with wonder – Jesus Christ, the promised savior of all mankind, the one we’ve been waiting for was born two thousand years ago. He was born in the humblest of ways – on a silent sight in a manger in a stable in Bethlehem. He’s here. He has come.

Christ the Savior is born.

Let’s sing loudly.

- Drew Mixson