Each year we start the holiday season with our own traditions, trimming tress, buying gifts, visiting friends, attending parties, singing carols, greeting strangers, giving change to the bell ringers, and oh so much more! None of this is bad, in fact, most of it is beautiful and life-giving. However, anything can be taken to an extreme; all good can be twisted away from its original blessing; and the best of intentions can be led astray. An most of us do get led astray in our preparations for the holidays. How often have you heard, “I need a vacation from the holidays” or, “the holidays are so hectic,” or, “it’s the holidays, everyone is miserable!”? The problem is that we don’t take enough time to be quiet and let the meaning of these preparations sink into our soul and being. If fact, this season is quite simply a microcosm of our entire life. All too easily we get caught up in the craziness of busyness and lose sight of the deeper meanings of life.
Advent is a time of hope, waiting, yearning. It is a time to remind us that in order to know what we await, we must be quiet and listen with the “ear of our heart” to the gentle call of our God. Our God chose not to come in thunder, bombast, and great fanfare. Rather, our God comes as a gentle kick of an infant deep in the mother’s womb; in the sound of a tumbling snow flake; in the murmur of moonbeams on a cold winter’s night. This season we are given an opportunity to slow down, reevaluate our goals and aims, and consider the simple needs of an infant, rather than the desires of adults. Consider accepting the invitation to be as quiet as a single burning candle, to ponder the reason for our mania, and to help each other to calmly and considerately look for the Christ-child beckoning to us this season and always.
Wishing you Advent silence and contemplation!