When I was a child, stillness prevailed in our home on Christmas Eve. Bedtime was early and quiet was counseled, despite the excitement. I’m sure I was more excited about the coming of Santa than the coming of the Christ Child, yet I learned to be silent and still before so great an expectation.
In our culture, in this season, what could be more startling than silence? The final round of holiday parties is taking place. Shops are filled. Decorative lights blink incessantly. Time moves like a train gathering speed, as if it, too, was in a hurry. Everything around us bespeaks haste and clamor.
In the midst of this din, today’s readings call us to silence. Manoah’s wife was silent before the message of an angel. “I asked no questions . . .” she said. Zechariah did question, and was brought to silence.
Surrendering to the bustle around us can be a form of questioning the angel, of disbelieving the message. Perhaps an inward silence can help us still the outward clamor, if only for the moment of a prayer.
Today’s Gospel Acclamation is based upon the O Antiphon O Radix Jesse: “O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples; before you kings will shut their mouths, to you the nations will make their prayer . . .”
Amidst the thousands of signs around us, we are called to notice this sign, the sign of God’s love. Before so great an expectation, may we be filled with so great a silence.
Reflected by Sr. Lynn Elizabeth Meadows, OSB taken from Give Us This Day