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A Quiet Night for Grace to Arrive

-written by Matt Clotfelter

During the heavy snow in December 2017, I was at work. To say the shift was busy would be an understatement. Of course, with all the snow on the ground, traveling was much slower than normal. Luckily, there were very few people on the road. Most folks had heeded the warnings to just stay home, often with no power. Once we would get as far as the fire engine could go, we would leave it behind and continue on foot to our destination.

Without the chaos of people milling around, without the lights emanating from every house, and even without the noise of our truck in the background, our trip to our destination was always so serene. The only sound was us talking, the wind blowing the tree branches, and the snow crunching under our feet. The only lights were from our flashlights, transformers arcing off as the power company worked feverishly to restore power, and the glow coming up from the blanket of white.

My favorite modern Christmas song is “Winter Snow” by Audrey Assad. That night, I thought a lot about the words of the song.

You came like a winter snow,
quiet, soft and slow;
falling from the sky,
in the night, to the earth below.

I thought about the angelic choir in a field with shepherds, followed by what seems to be a more sedate moment in a stable: Jesus’ arrival, “quiet, soft and slow.” Of course the story continues and Jesus makes His first recorded public appearance.

Jesus and family arrive at the temple in Jerusalem for his dedication, as required by the Mosaic Law. A sacrifice of two doves is required to dedicate Jesus and make Mary ceremonially clean. The temple, even with the Herrod’s expanded courtyards, was probably a noisy place. There would have been worshipers who lived in Jerusalem plus the pilgrims who have traveled to worship God, like the Holy Family. There may have  been non-worshipers there, too; people who were curious about this religion. There might have even been people there just to marvel at the construction.

In this moment, likely filled with chaos and noise, Simeon, an old man led to the Temple by God, finds the Holy Family. Here, the arrival of The Messiah is proclaimed for anyone who is standing around to hear:

I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for​ all people​​. He is a light ​to reveal God to the nations​​, and he is the glory of your people Israel! – Luke 2:30-32

The Child, one day to be called “King of the Jews” has been born in humility to humble the proud and bring hope to the hopeless! Jesus, born to be our Savior​​, not just the Savior of the Hebrews, was destined to bear the cross. He came to give mankind the gift of grace.

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After meeting the Messiah, Simeon is at peace and ready to meet his Maker. He understood the truth: God came to earth as a child; born to the people, not to the kings; He is the King of more than an earthly kingdom, and He wants our hearts.

God desires to save all the nations​​. His desire was so great, He was willing to send His Son to earth. Jesus came quiet, one night in Bethlehem; the greatest gift the world ever received wrapped in rags, born into anonymity. But it would not stay that way for long… Praise be to our Lord and Savior!

Matt Clotfelter is married to Amie and they have 2 children, Tyler and Marcus. Matt serves as a deacon as well as volunteers in the SoHills nursery, preschool ministry, and preteen ministry.

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