Ask anyone in my family, and they’ll tell you the same thing: Mike doesn’t like loud noises.
Ever since I was little, I preferred the quiet. In fact, every fourth of July, I was the kid standing there, looking up at the beautiful firework displays in the sky, with my hands pressed tightly over my ears—it was too LOUD! And even though I now enjoy the sounds of music, laughter, and even fireworks—when I’m alone in my car, the radio is still usually off.
What can I say? I just really enjoy silence.
But here’s the thing: Silence can’t survive in the presence of true joy. Silence and joy are like darkness and light. The moment the light is turned on, all the darkness is driven away. So, too, with joy. Once joy erupts, silence goes running!
We see it all the time.
A husband kisses his bride on their wedding day, and the once quiet church erupts in applause! Why? Because everyone is caught up in the joy that couple is feeling. Or a young adult gets into the college they were hoping for. Again, their joy breaks the silence. They scream—maybe even jump up and down! Or when a kid opens a present on Christmas morning and squeals with delight!
Because that’s what joy does: It breaks the silence.
But there’s one place we see (and hear) this most clearly of all. We see it in the events leading up to and surrounding Jesus’ birth on that very first Christmas. Because right before Jesus’ coming birth was announced, we have over 400 years of absolute silence. Over 400 years since God’s people have heard from him. Over 400 years since God sent a prophet with a message for them. Over 400 years since the last book of the Old Testament was written.
Then suddenly, a tiny spark of joy is heard: Mary is carrying the Son of God—the Savior of the world! Then that spark grows into a tiny flame: Elizabeth hears the news, and she shouts for joy! And then LOUDEST of all: the sky thunders as the joy of heaven itself invades a once silent night! A great company of angels appears shouting, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests!” We can’t even imagine the joy those shepherds must’ve felt at that moment—the moment heaven’s joy overwhelmed earth’s silence!
And as followers of Jesus, we get to lean into that same inescapable joy today!
Because we know that no matter how silent things may sometimes feel in our lives—how bad things may get and how far away God may seem—that silence will NOT endure. One day that silence will be extinguished forever! And knowing that day is coming—that gives us a joy in this life that can never be snuffed out.
The Apostle Peter speaks about this joy when he writes:
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. – 1 Peter 1:8-9
Because the silence has broken, my friends!
Joy to the world, the Lord is come—and even LOUDER—he’s coming again!
Written by Mike Westerveld