Advent, Day 7: Silence.

Today’s reading: Psalm 62:5-8

The theme at Following the Star this season is “be still and know…” (Psalm 46:10) so I guess it should stop surprising me that the topic of silence keeps coming up in the selected scriptures. Elijah heard God’s voice, not in the thunder of an earthquake or the raging of fire, but in the stillness, the smallest whisper. Zechariah was forced into silence when his skepticism got the better of him.

Of all seasons of the year to try to practice the discipline of silence, surely this is the most challenging. Not only does noise seem to come along with the inherent busy-ness of the month (keyboards clicking, telephones ringing), and not only do the “sounds of the season” help set the tone for our celebrations (I’m partial to Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney), and not only do sounds themselves remind us of opportunities for generosity (think bell-ringers and red buckets)… but all this “noise” invades our minds and hearts as well as our physical space.

So… as my two (no, make that three, counting a husband) boys screech and laugh and growl as they play-wrestle on the living room floor, as cartoon tunes blare from the t.v., as my own fingers tap the keyboard, as I’m mentally list-making and meal-planning and replaying all the events of my day, I am painfully aware that there’s a lot of noise I need to deal with. How do I “wait in silence” when the world around me is deafening? How do I “wait in silence” when it’s my own voice I can’t escape?

Will I be able to hear his gentle whisper, when I’m surrounded by uproar?

Will I be able to hear him only if I am rendered mute?

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