"Still the night, Holy the night" -- We sing these familiar words each year through frazzled minds, holding lengthy lists of food to be purchased and gifts to be wrapped, writes senior minister Iain Macaulay.
So “still” is unlikely to be the first word that jumps to mind when we think about Christmas 2018.
For most of us, finding islands of stillness in a sea of Black Friday deals, and children’s nativities and work nights out and cooking plans is a mammoth test of our mindfulness and diary planning.
I doubt the entry of Jesus into the world was particularly “still”. The biblical narrative depicts a frantic family scene: a mother in labour, a problem with accommodation and a motley collection of unexpected human and animal house guests.
It reminds us that stillness does not just appear randomly over the horizon of a busy day. Stillness is something to be seized from the swirling tumult of life. Something to be prioritised before the lists are completed and the work is done.
If you are like me, then being still, taking time, contemplating, reflecting and seeking the Lord all too easily become the things to do after the to-do list is complete, and of course it never completes!
Stillness becomes a reward for busyness, peace the prize for an activity-packed week. Yet lists are added to, stuff goes on happening and issues continue unresolved. Our world goes on revolving in an unremitting tangle of problems and pain.
Finding stillness is a choice we have to make whilst the world buzzes on around; stillness is a claim to be staked even as our lists grow.
“Be still and know that I am God” says the psalmist (Psalm 46), "I will be exalted amongst the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." One translation says, “stop striving and know”. In other words, actively, intentionally throw on the brakes and seek the Lord, soak in his presence, pursue him.
So still nights and holy days to you this Christmas. May you seek and find places of stillness where the wisdom of Christ that “sweetly orders all things” may order your heart and mind, settle your soul and recreate your perspective.
On behalf of all at QPBC, thank you for all your commitment and contributions to our church family this last year. We are certainly “all in this together”. It's been wonderful to feel that in many ways, in joy and in sorrow in 2018. May you have a restful and refreshing Christmas and may you find that the Lord enriches your life in many ways as we celebrate and serve him together in 2019.