For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 2a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; 7a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to keep silence…So, this is it. This is the time to which we are called during this Season of Advent. Maybe the silence is what makes waiting so hard. And so we try to fill the silence with something we know, speaking words into the darkness until we are more comfortable with this time of waiting. Have you ever thought that Silence itself is a powerful Presence? Meister Eckhart said that “nothing is so like God as silence.” But silence, for us, is often uncomfortably deafening, and we respond with sometimes meaningless words and thoughts, desperately
attempting to fill a space that does not need filled at all. In her book, When God is Silent, Barbara Brown Taylor makes the point that “sometimes we may do all the talking because we are afraid God won’t.” Perhaps we are just trying to cover up the uncomfortable feeling that God is not with us.
Maybe Advent is trying to teach us to hear the silence, to breathe in God’s Presence, and to hear something that is totally foreign to our worldly ears yet vaguely familiar to our God-centered heart. Taylor speaks of it as the most eloquent word of all. As she says, “In the moments before a word is spoken, anything is possible. The empty air is formless void waiting to be addressed…anything is possible until God exhales…[making] something out of nothing by saying that it is so. She goes on to say that “in silence, we travel back in time to the day before the first day of creation, when all being was still part of God’s body. It had not yet been said, and silence was the womb in which it slept.”
This notion of silence as the womb in which something that is about to be sleeps might help us with this waiting game. After all, one cannot rush a womb. There has to be time. Advent is that time, that time right before daybreak, before the world starts speaking, that moment when everything is as it should be. And to live this mystery of Advent, we wait, just wait, until God says the world (and us) into being once again. Shhhh! The baby is coming.
Reflection: Sit in silence and let it speak to you.
Grace and Peace,