Monday, December 23, 2013

Silently, How Silently.....

I sit here writing this post on Sunday morning, December 22.  Church has been cancelled and rain/sleet/freezing rain is falling outside my window.  The trees are covered with ice, the roads and walkways are crusted over, and there is very little traffic activity that I can see on Route 2A. 

The airport is closed.
Church Christmas Programs all over the area have been cancelled.
There is an Ice Storm Warning in effect until 7pm tonight and the radio and TV are advising that if you don't have to travel today, please stay home
Driving is treacherous. 
Over 16,000 people are without power.
There will be very little Christmas shopping done today.

In the midst of all this, I see this day as a gift
The gift of a whole day - stretched out before me - with no schedule to adhere to!
A gift from God that forces me to slow down when I am unable or unwilling to slow down by myself.
Selah - stop and consider this!

On a day like this -
I have to stop. 
I have to be still. 
All of my plans have been aborted.

In the midst of the Christmas rush and the fever to "get it all done", I have been forced to
step back,
take a deep breath, and
be still!

It's hard for us to sit still, to just be, instead of always doing.  We always have places to go, things to do, people to see.  We have twitter and tweet and Facebook and all other ways to be LinkedIn.  Social media consumes a lot of our waking day.  We rush here and we rush there, but never far from our phones or our ipods or ipads! 

We are rushing as if we can make 2 days out of 1, as if we can stretch our lives longer, make them mean something or at least feel as if we mean something, we fill every waking moment trying to convince ourselves that we matter.  Even today, in the midst of all the warnings, cancellations, etc., there are still people going about "business as usual" because they can't/won't even be forced to take "a day off."

But in all this rushing, what are we missing?

- the chance to be alone with our own thoughts; are we afraid of what we would hear? afraid we would be faced with unpleasant truths and realities we don't want to see?

- the opportunity to really see and hear others; do you look, really look into the eyes of the person on the other side of the counter serving you and say thank you or do you just mumble something and turn away, checking for your next new message?

- life and all its wonders, the beauty that surrounds us; it's a beautiful Winter Wonderland right outside the window; do you see that or do you just see cancelled plans and feel frustration?

I sit here at my desk in the quiet of the day.  I have even turned off my Christmas music for a time, just to enjoy the quiet and the stillness.  Outside my window, I see a squirrel feverishly trying to dig through the ice-covered snow to perhaps find a nut that he buried there this past fall.  Watching him, I think of two things -

1- we are like that this time of year, feverishly digging, digging to find the buried treasure of a perfect Christmas

2- I wish that I and others had that same perseverance when it came to digging for the hidden treasure found in the presence of the Lord, found in His Word.

All season long, I have heard these words from the Christmas Carol, O Little Town of Bethlehem, playing in my head.  Some mornings I even awaken to them.  Can't seem to stop the tune.

How silently, how silently,
The wondrous gift is given;
So God imparts to human hearts
the blessing of his heaven.
No ear may hear his coming,
but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him still
the dear Christ enters in. 
These words still my heart every time I hear them. 
He came silently into the world, born in a manger.

What a contrast to this world where things are announced and proclaimed with great gusto, pomp and circumstance.  When someone is introduced, it's with loud music, a grand introduction of all accomplishments and then a "Heeere's Johnnnnnnny" type of hoopla.
He came silently into the world, born in a manger.  No-one but his parents and the animals shared in the moment.

So, too, He silently invades our hearts when they are open to Him.  And while there may be people around us, no one shares that particular moment in our heart except Him.

No ear will hear Him silently slip into that meek soul that will receive Him.
And where meek souls receive Him, because it does take a meek heart to be able to receive, still He enters in.  Still today, He comes silently to those who have ears to hear and meekness of heart to receive.  
"There is no need to produce or perform or perfect - simply become a place for God. That is all.  Christmas is conceived in your world when you simply receive it - however Christ and His will come to you.  Christmas can't be made. is a gift."
(The Greatest Gift, by Ann Voskamp)
That's what I think of when I sit here in the silence.
"Be still and know that I am God."
Psalm 46:10

Be still from all your doing, all your rushing, all your preparation
and just receive the gift.
Receive Him!


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