Turning Down The Volume
A favorite Christmas song for many is “Silent Night,” often sung peacefully during the evening of Christmas Eve. The season leading up to that moment, however, is anything but silent. The weeks approaching Christmas are often filled with the noise of shopping, social gatherings and general busyness. It’s a noisy season.
Advent is meant to be a season of waiting; the word advent means “coming.” In the weeks leading up to Christmas, we anticipate Christ’s coming as an infant and we also adopt a posture of waiting for Christ’s second advent, when he will return, completing God’s renewal of all things. Advent is meant to be a season of anticipation, waiting and longing.
One of the ways we can foster a posture of waiting is through silence. As we still ourselves in quiet, we are in position to receive. Anticipation builds as we listen for God’s word. In silence, we become aware of sadness and hurts that we have denied through distraction, and we come to long for God’s healing and restoration in a deeper way. In quiet, we notice things previously ignored, and we can discern mustard seed-sized signs of God’s shalom coming forth here and now. Ultimately, as we practice silence, we acknowledge that our words, our responses and our noise are not the hope of the world — the hope is Christ’s coming.
This Advent, I’m deliberately going to practice silence in a couple of ways. As a church, we are corporately going to do this together on the Parish Quiet Day next Saturday. In this busy and noisy season, we are deliberately carving out some time for silence and the posture of waiting. We silence and still ourselves anticipating God to speak, longing for Jesus’ return. What are some ways you might be silent this Advent?
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