Hush! Don’t Wake The Baby!
May your Holiday Season be filled with loud laughter and excited voices. Yes, you need to speak up and say with genuine enthusiasm, “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!” It’s the season to forcefully broadcast your best wishes to others.
It is also the season of Christmas Carols and other Christmas music. If you go out caroling door-to-door, you need to belt out the songs so the folks you are singing for can hear you. You cannot have a family Christmas dinner or party without much chatter and noise.
In listening to Christmas music recently, I was thrilled to hear once again the Austrian Christmas Carol and lullaby often called Still, Still, Still, and sometimes Hush, Hush, Hush. Some may know it as ‘Weil’s Kindlein Schlafen will.’ The carol has a beautiful, gentle melody of a folksong from the Salzburg District. The song was first published in 1865 in a lullaby collection. The words describe the peace of the infant Jesus and his mother as the baby is sung to sleep.
This old grandpa thinks the wonderful newly born baby tends to get lost in our Christmas celebrations. At the heart of the Christmas story is the birth of a baby. Luke 2:6-7 keeps it simple, “while they were there (Bethlehem), the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no room at the inn.”
Every newborn baby is precious and a miracle, but the baby Jesus was the purity and vulnerability of God in a baby beginning his life in a manager for his crib. Yes, it needed to be still and voices hushed not to wake the baby. Mary was exhausted from giving birth and would hold and kiss her son. Yes, she would nurse and swaddle her son in cloths and sing him to sleep before placing him in a manger. Mary might have sung to her baby, “Close your eyes. Let sleep surround you. Sleep, sleep, sleep. Dream, dream, dream of the joyous day to come.” (Carol)
Every Christmas Eve, the tiny newborn baby Jesus reminds us to stop and be still. He is waiting for each of us to give him attention, to see him as an innocent baby waiting for us to pick him up and hold him close to our hearts and minds. Christmas is our time to come quietly and hug the fullness of God in a baby size. He invites us to love him as he is, a precious tiny babe born of God’s love for all the people.
It seems our hearts grow colder and harder each Christmas Eve as if we are waiting to have an angel shining on us in the glory of God to get our attention concerning the birthday of the baby Jesus. Instead, we focus on our human choirs, Christmas trees, and special programs. Oh, how we love our candlelight carol services. Oh, how we love our tradition of attending midnight mass. Oh, how we love gift-giving, special meals, and more. Sadly, the baby Jesus is left for Joseph and Mary in his manger not in our hearts.