Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Second Sunday of Advent

Dear King Wenceslaus,

When is it that a hush falls over the crowd?
In anticipation?

In awe and respect?

In loving recognition that silence is better than noise?

In horror?

Christian liturgy that tells us that in advent it is a time for quiet and waiting. We light candles one by one and the flickering glow should speak for us. We are in joyful anticipation of the Coming. O Come, O Come, Emanuel. And we, in our most childish of spirits, anticipate Christmas and all it's wondrous surprises and kindnesses which spring from the spirit you so beautifully demonstrated in your actions there in Bohemia in the early 900's on the feast of Stephen.

And the incarnation is awe inspiring. Uneducated shepherds, watching their flocks by night knew that much. But does it take a choir of the heavenly host to make us mum, or does the idea alone, that God, the ultimate instigator of existing, would assume human bodily form and could be found on earth in the most primitive of neonatal units, a manger. That should shut us up.

And does the love shown forth in the coming of the progeny of God, who so loved this world full of pitiful creatures that he extended a channel by which our offerings of belief might become eternal, bring us to rightful silence? Does it take the very need for words away? I think so.

Horror, yes, and there is horror hidden in the quiet of advent and horror is part and parcel of all that Christianity is. The horror is at our own inadequacy, sometimes called sin. But, we call it horrible and it leaves us dumbstruck whenever we see it under our own skins. This is perhaps the greatest of the reasons that we wait in quiet for Christmas. This is when the ice of our own goodnesses breaks under the weight of our own lack of pity. We are left shivering in icy horror hoping to find someone whose warm footprints can lead us home.

I think it is horror more than anthing that drives us back to the silent night, that holy night when shepherds and angels and tongue-tied folk like you and me shshed ourselves so the little Lord Jesus could sleep.

May Your Days of Quiet be Blessed,


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