Silent Night

Silent Night, what a wonderful piece of music.  It’s a melody that, for most of us, call to mind a flood of memories tied up in many a past Christmas.  The words of this song though somewhat simple are spiritually deep and reflective.


During this holiday season, all of my children, save one, have been home, with their families to visit.  These visits were way too short and to some extent harried.  We tried to cover as much ground as possible and visit sites around our Georgia home we have never seen before.  We packed so much into the day we didn’t even realize night crept up on us.


After a day of running, we would crash into bed and start all over again the next day.


Now that they have finished their visits with us, planning to spend Christmas Eve and day with the family of their spouse, I am taken to thinking about the things we missed once again.  The things I wanted to say, the questions I wanted to ask, the fatherly things I wanted to relate to my sons who are now heads of their own households.  The protective advise I wanted to give my daughter.


My mind drifts back to the simpler times of our lives.  The days when these adults were but small children.  I remember the times when they slept peacefully on their beds surrounded by all manner of space vehicles, stuffed animals, or dolls.  The times they fell fast asleep on the chair next to me, after an afternoon of active play.  Still other times when they were sick and needed someone to lay beside them to help them feel secure knowing there was no monster under the bed.


I remember those “Silent Nights”.  The nights I prayed over them as they slept.  Wondering what the future would bring for them, but praying earnestly, that whatever it was, it would make them happy. 


Those nights I prayed God would forgive me for the mistakes I made with them.  The times I disciplined them out of anger, the words I said that were not supportive or uplifting.  The shame I felt when I realized they loved me in spite of my shortcomings.  Oh how I wanted to take some of those words and actions back.  Yet, they were gone out of me, establishing a place in them that would be hidden in their subconscious because it was not given out of love.


Those “Silent Nights”, were times of deep inner study.  What must I do differently?  What could I do right?  I knew what my dad had done and said to me, but here I was using the very same words in the same manner.  Why did I not learn?  How can I be a better father?


On this “Silent Night”, as I reflect on those of the past, God gently reminds me of the words of this great song:


Silent Night, holy night, All is calm, all is bright

Round yon virgin mother and child! Holy infant so tender and mild,

Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace.


Silent night, holy night, Shepherds quake at the sight,

Glory streams from heaven afar, Heavenly hosts sing alleluia;

Christ the Savior is born! Christ the Savior is born!


Silent night, holy night, Son of God, love’s pure light;

Radiant beams from thy holy face, with the dawn of redeeming grace,

Jesus, Lord, at thy birth. Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.


Silent night, holy night, Wondrous star, lend thy light;

With the angels let us sing “Alleluia to our King;

Christ the Savior is born! Christ the Savior is born!”

Fr. Joseph Mohr, Franz Xaver Gruber 1818


It is love that prompted God to send His only Son to be born on the “Silent Night” spoken of in this song.  Even though God knew the future this small child would face, he did not withhold his love from him or from us.  Quite the contrary, he spoke of His love for this child with “radiant beams” from His holy face.


This “Silent Night” made it possible for me to ask and receive forgiveness, both from my children and from my God.  It is this “Silent Night” that heals the wounded heart of a child now an adult.


Fathers, our times here on this earth are short.  Our times with our children are even shorter.  Do not waste them.  At any time, our children could be taken from us.  At any time we could be taken from our families.  The light that is our life is barely visible without the great love brought to this world by the birth of Jesus on this “Silent Night”. 


Put your trust in Him, seek him, and you will find great joy and no regrets as you face those “Silent Nights” which are your future.


Be blessed in this holy season of Christmas.  I am saying a special prayer for all of you as I sit through this “Silent Night” and watch for the radiant beams of God’s holy face showing his love once again to this lowly world.


En servicio como padre



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