The Angel’s Song: Our Hymn of Invitation
By Doug Vancil
Week 4, Day 22 | December 20
If the Almighty delivered every important message to mortals from a sky full of angels, we wouldn’t have such a difficult time hearing God.
Wouldn’t our wilderness journey be clearer if we were led by pillars of clouds or fire like the Israelites? And wouldn’t we rather God speak in the earthquake or the firestorm than in the whisper that Elijah heard on that lonely mountain? Aren’t we more like Saul of Tarsus, so religiously consumed that to really see Christ he had to be blinded on a deserted road?
Contrarily, it seems God speaks most distinctly in the quiet desolate places of our lives.
It is not hard for me to imagine the sky under which the shepherds watched their flocks the night Christ was born. Growing up in the Illinois countryside, I remember some spectacular starlit nightscapes that stretched to vast horizons. It was on just such a night I can recall God speaking to me, not in an audible voice, but in a profound stillness, as loud as a choir of angels. I heard, “Be still and know that I am God. I have made you. I will keep you. Live your life for me.” As I lay in my bed looking out the open window at that vast night sky I accepted Christ’s invitation. And ever since that night I can confidently say with the apostle Paul, “for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
Yet with the woes of sin and strife the world has suffered long;
beneath the heavenly hymn have rolled two thousand years of wrong;
and we at war on earth hear not the tidings that they bring;
O, hush the noise and cease the strife to hear the angels sing! 7
PRAYER: Creator God, Today may we be still enough to recognize the sound of your voice. Amen.
Doug Vancil is observing Advent 2015 with the congregation of First Baptist Church, Greensboro. He’s been privileged to serve for 17 years as Associate Pastor for Music and Worship, a vocation he gratefully shares with his wife Terri.