Remember when a simple wall calendar would manage our schedule? Now we need electronic schedules that are synchronized between our home computers and our mobile phones. And just when we think we can’t be any busier, here comes December! Vacation days, school programs, shopping trips, office parties, and church pageants… a lot of planning goes into the twelve days of Christmas.
Which is why I’d like to suggest a radical idea: In planning for Christmas this year, schedule a “silent night” into your calendar. Can you imagine how much more meaningful your Christmas celebration would be if you deliberately planned some quiet time, alone with the Lord in the midst of the holiday schedule?
Years ago, Lorne C. Sanny of the Navigators wrote a little booklet titled How to Spend a Day in Prayer. He observed that Jesus spent whole nights praying, and Nehemiah prayed “certain days” about the plight of Jerusalem. Moses spent forty days with God on Mount Sinai, and Christ did the same in the Judean hills. Sometimes we need extended times in the Lord’s presence, and the need is often greatest when we’re busy. Maybe you can’t take an entire day off in December, but what about planning a silent night?
The Bible exhorts us to invest in time alone with God. Matthew 6:6 says, “Go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” Jesus practiced what He preached, as we read in Mark 1:35: “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.”
Notice, too, how the Lord managed to get the Christmas characters by themselves to meet with them privately: Zacharias was alone in the temple when Gabriel appeared to him at the altar of incense (Luke 1:9-12). Mary was alone when the same angel appeared to her (Luke 1:26-28). Joseph was alone when the angel spoke to him in a dream (Matthew 1:20).
An Evening to Remember
I propose planning a silent night this Christmas, an evening of blessed solitude. From supper to bedtime, enjoy an extended season with the Lord. Prepare a tray of decaffeinated tea, a cookie, a book of Christmas hymns, your Bible, a good devotional book, and a notebook for your thoughts or prayer lists.
Begin by turning off your cell phone and shutting down your computer. Believe it or not, the world still spins when we disconnect from our electronics.
When you’ve done this, ask the Lord to bless your evening. Don’t expect fire to fall or an angel to appear. But tell the Lord you want to meet with Him. Repeat Samuel’s prayer: “Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears” (1 Samuel 3:9). Or David’s prayer: “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law” (Psalm 119:18).
Then enjoy some good, old-fashioned Bible study. You might read through the Christmas passages in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Or through the book of Colossians, listing all the attributes that describe Christ. Perhaps it would be a good time to read through the Gospel of John in one sitting (it will take less than an hour). Jot down any observations. List any Bible verses you would like to memorize and work on them.
Then take time to praise the Lord. Sing. Try to think of things which you’ve never expressed gratitude for and tell the Lord how thankful you are for these smaller blessings. Search your heart for any sins that need confessing. Devote unhurried time to your prayer requests. If you grow tired, close your eyes, and rest your mind by meditating on a Bible verse.
Let the presence of the Holy Spirit fill your heart. Abide in His love. Cast all your cares upon Him. Rededicate yourself to His service.
If an evening won’t do, try devoting a morning to this exercise or an afternoon. There’s no song about a “Silent Morning,” but there is a hymn that says, “Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee.”
Let this be your Christmas gift to the Lord Jesus—a silent night—where all is calm and bright.
David Jeremiah is the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church and the founder and host of Turning Point for God. For more information about Dr. Jeremiah or Turning Point, visit www.DavidJeremiah.org.
Hope! We feel it as cold, blustery days turn to warm, sunny ones each spring. While we revel in the hope we find as the seasons change, we are reminded of an even greater hope—the spiritual hope we have because of Easter! Prepare your heart for Easter this year and for years to come with David Jeremiah’s new book, Season of Hope. This book is designed to encourage you as you anticipate the celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead and the indescribable hope that it brings to our lives. This new resource is filled with devotionals, articles, and other content to fill you with hope each Easter season.