How silently, how silently,
the wondrous gift is given.
I would be silent now, Lord, and expectant…
that I may receive the gift I need,
so I may become the gifts others need.
Guerrillas of Grace Ted Loder
We don’t usually think of Advent as the season to be silent. We usually reserve silence for Lent. We view Advent as a busy time, a time to prepare for the Christmas celebration – a time for shopping and decorating and gift-giving and entertaining family and friends with parties and feasts. Carols float our across the aisles to remind us, “Tis the season to be jolly!” This is not the time for silence! But, silence comes.
Some evening, if for only a moment, in the middle of all the hustle and bustle, something will cause you to stop what you are doing, and listen – silent, expectantly. Maybe you will be getting into your car, your arms loaded with packages. Maybe things are tight, and your arms are empty this year. But, somewhere, somehow, during this Advent season, your eyes will be drawn irresistibly to the night sky, blue-black, and filled with stars. You will pause, eyes shimmering with awe and wonder, as out of the silence, God whispers in your ear, “For unto you, a child is born. Unto you, the gift is given.”
Suddenly, it will be clear to you as never before, what this whole Advent/Christmas thing is all about. Suddenly, you will understand how it must have been for the shepherds, standing out under the starry sky, silenced by the sound of angel wings beating against the night air, waiting with fear and trembling, as the God-Gift was revealed to them. How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given; not a package, but a person – Jesus, the Christ! A treasure, given for us forever!
History repeats itself. Year after year, we wait in silent expectation for the God-Gift to return. Advent after Advent, God, who lives among us, comes to us anew in the silence of our own hearts. Suddenly, the packages and the parties pale in comparison. For that brief moment, it won’t matter whether you have gifts under the tree or not, if you have loved ones beside you or not. You will know that you have everything you need, right there inside you.
This Advent, as you wait expectantly for the God-Gift that is Christ to be born anew in you, may the silence of the moment bring you more joy than you have ever experienced! May you, like the shepherds, run all the way to Bethlehem, to see this God-Gift for yourself. May you go out from that place gifted, to be the gifts that others need.
Happy Advent and a Merry Christmas! Pastor Barb
But Mary treasured all these words,
and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19