“The World in Solemn Stillness Lay, to Hear the Angels Sing”
While rave reviews say a lot about the quality of a good meal, they aren’t the only response that one might have. There are times when loud proclamations of “mmmmmm” communicate to others how much we are enjoying our dining experience, but sometimes even more telling is the silence that takes place after every bite.
Last Christmas season I found myself sick with perhaps the most persistent head-cold that I’ve ever experienced. Beginning the day after thanksgiving, for weeks I could not taste anything due to how stuffy my nose was, and during the holidays that was one of the most miserable realities I could imagine. When Christmas day came, I could feel the blockage beginning to break. Not completely, but every now and then I would regain my sense of taste, and I would use that moment to sit down, eat, and enjoy what I could. I wouldn’t say anything during those times. Enjoyment of holiday food had been in far too short supply that year, and for the time being, I just wanted to sit in silence, enjoy the delicious food without interruption, and channel all of my senses towards that moment.
In contrast to the rowdy shepherds, Luke tells us that Mary quietly treasures all of the things that she had experienced in her heart. In a world that is defined by noise and activity, we are sometimes prone to forget to take moments like this. Even our prayers are usually defined by noise, with us talking and making our requests of God. While there is of course nothing wrong with this, it does little to give God a chance to speak to our hearts. This Christmas Eve, set aside a time and sit quietly. Choose the passages, messages, and realities about God that meant something to you, and take a few minutes to simply sit in silence, repeat them to yourself, and remind yourself of them.
-Review the nativity accounts and the realities about God that you’ve been reminded of this year. Choose one of them, boil it down to a phrase or two, and take 5-10 minutes to reflect on it in silence. No discussion today. Treasure what you’ve found.