1 Kings 19:11-12 (KJV)
And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
"O.K. Boomer." Sigh.
Just when we thought things couldn't get more confrontational …
Is it just me or does the world seem more noisier than it used to? I don't mean literal noise (but apparently that is a real thing (!) like light pollution). What I mean is that everybody seems to be yelling at everybody all the time now. We all seem to be on our brittle last nerve with being insulted by someone's lack of awareness of our issues. And, instead of, as my British Nana used to say: Take it with a "stiff upper lip," we lash out with not only heated words, but hateful words.
I bring this up because it's going to get worse, the closer we get to Christmas. It's not just the vitriol of when it is appropriate to put up one's Christmas lights, or tree or socks. Nor is it the constant barrage of "Last Christmas I gave you my heart …" and other such dreck. No, it's the complete avoidance of the one thing that Christmas offers (and not just to Christians) that is most troubling.
"Silent Night, Holy Night."
Stillness, quiet, peace.
Maybe as I get older I crave it more. Having grown up in a time (70s, 80s, and even early 90s)and a place (Kemptville) where quietness was the order of the day I remember on the rare snow days, that teen-aged Blair would be up in his bedroom firmly and irresistibly buried under sheets, I could actually hear the snow falling and bouncing off my windows.
Driving down Highway (now County Road) 43 to spend time with my girlfriend (aka wifey) in Chesterville, it was possible, once you were past "The Coach House," to see the Milky Way as you drove down the dark road—and maybe only passed two or three cars until you got to Winchester.
Quietness can be terrifying if you are used to constant "noise." I once spent a week living with Karen's grandparents in Chesterville, who lived beside a level railway crossing. I've always known about the trains as we'd hear them every time we visited. But to experience them 24/7 … it wasn't the getting used to the noise that was hard. It was when we got home, and the trains weren't there anymore. That was the hard part: The lack of trains in my life!
Much of the "noise" in our lives, however, is not external to us. Rather, it is the noise that comes from inside, be it our conscience, our childhood, our spouses, our bosses, whatever. And it is always disconcerting how loud those voices are, and how they usually start their cacophony at the most inopportune times. Yet, yet the Incarnation, the coming of God in the flesh. For one thing was meant to help us understand that God understands our all too human nature. God has been there, bought the t-shirt. Jesus, I am sure fully human heard his mother's voice in his head when he got up to things he KNEW he shouldn't be getting up to. He knows, oh yes. He knows.
But His having been with us, among us, like us also gives us an opportunity to not only take time to ask Him about it, but also listen to what he has to say about it; to stop and hear beyond the noise. To be still. Because one can only see one's reflection in the water when that water is stilled. Maybe the depth and broadness of those inner seas of voices is too much for you to handle, and it feels like being in the midst of a terrible storm and you are so small. That is why Christmas exists: He came to hear us; to listen, to be that loving ear who will always have the time for you. Even when the rest of life is egg nogged up, and ready to tinsel it down.
He was born for you, all of you, the whole of you. Not just to "save your soul."
The last thing I want in this life is to take away from the great seasons of Advent and Christmas. Believe me, I love this time of year. I do love Christmas music, and decorations, and getting together. Why, I even love going to the malls and decking the halls! I do. Ask my family. But I also cherish those times when, in the midst of making merry, I can hear that "still small voice" speaking just to me: "I came for you. I very, very much love you. All of you. Just as you are."