“How Silently, How Silently the Wondrous Gift is Given . . .”
Isaac is getting anxious. No tree, no lights, no wrapping paper, no presents . . . we haven’t yet begun to stir the dust on the boxes of Christmas stuff in our basement. Last year around this time, part of me was explaining that we were waiting for our daughter Katy to make it home from her Americorps assignment out in Nevada—she’d want to be part of the preparation for Christmas, right?
(But she’s home this year, so that excuse won’t work again.)
Another part of me is saying simply: it’s not yet Christmas. It’s not time . . . . shhhhhhhh.
What happened to Advent?
The sad truth is, there is very little room in our busy December schedules for an Advent quiet. Marching bands, parades, an endless supply of commercials and sales and invitations to parties . . . all of it begins to trumpet CHRISTMAS, LOUD AND PROUD! right after Halloween, with barely a breath taken for Thanksgiving.
The truth is, what my heart yearns for most is to be quiet in December—to remember and observe the forgotten season of Advent, that season in the church when we prepare our hearts for the promised Messiah to be born there.
What was in Mary’s heart, all those quiet nights alone with her growing belly, feeling this unknown and unexpected child kicking inside her? Did she feel the weight of the world? Worry for the birth to come? Holy wonder, holy confusion at the prospect of Yeshua Meshiach coming into the world through the most obscure (and messiest) means possible: into human flesh, through the womb of an unknown peasant girl? What work was being accomplished even then by the Creator of the Universe, curled in silence in the secret places of Mary’s body?
I want time to consider those questions—to find where they connect to my own heart.
Wasn’t it in the silence of my own messy heart that Jesus was born so many years ago?
When was your heart last silent enough to hear the still small voice of the Holy Child . . . or the Savior?
In the midst of the overscheduled, overcooked, busy doings and goings of December, please remember to make room for silence. To make room for the Christ Child. To await His coming in your heart.
To prepare ye the way of the Lord.
(If you want to read another perspective on the overscheduled Christmas, please go to my good friend Karen Austin’s blogpost on Segullah.)
(Full disclosure: an earlier version was written for the December 2011 newsletter of the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia Walk to Emmaus community: www.westvirginiaemmaus.org)