Advent – before the coming. The coming of what? Who? Well, we all know that Advent comes before He arrives. We certainly all know that it is a time of frantic preparation, more and more, faster and faster, louder and louder and then BANG! It’s Christmas. I want to talk about silence. I want to share about stillness and quiet. Today it was brought to my attention that certain parishioners would like to have little badges available that say “I’m practicing silence; thank you for understanding.” They want on occasion to come and sit quietly, join their silent prayers to ours, listen to the music, meditate on the sermon, be blessed and leave. I said. “Sure, we can do that,” and we will. That request sparked this reflection about silence and Advent – about quiet anticipation of the coming of the Christ child.
“How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given.
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heaven.”
It’s right there, brothers and sisters.
“O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie.
“Silent night, holy night.”
The lights go off, our candles are lit, we sing softly on our knees – something happens in our eyes, our throats, or stomachs. Memories happen, old Christmases appear before our eyes, friends and family far away or gone from us are with us in that stillness. Suddenly we feel God with us, our Advent prayer of “O come, O come Emmanuel” is answered.
Elijah the prophet, beneath the broom tree, in a suicidal depression, finally heard God in the silence . . . and was healed. We probably won’t hear Him in the mall, on the TV, in a video game. Let’s turn off the TV, the computer, the smart phone, . . . and close our eyes and listen for the cry of a newborn infant, cold in his manger-cradle: King of kings and Lord of lords. King of glory and King of peace.
May you have a blessed Christmastide,