I encourage you to put aside time as we approach Christmas to ponder in silence the power of Christ’s birth.
I realize that not everyone has the temperament or the desire to take time each day to dedicate time to silent prayer. We live such busy and hectic lives that often leave us tired and burdened when we get to the evening. I am not immune from feeling tired and burdened but to give myself permission to enter into silence is a true gift.
As we journey through this season of Advent, I invite you to block out a few minutes of silence each day dependent upon your schedule and your personal prayer practice. This period of silence does not have to be twenty minutes, which is the recommended time. Begin with five minutes and then increase the amount of time as you grow in confidence. Begin to know within your inner self that silence is not to be avoided but rather it is a gift, a gift that offers us the opportunity to go deeper in your relationship with God. This is especially true during the season of Advent.
Another benefit of silence is being open to surrender to our thoughts for a brief period of time and to sit in the emptiness that silence offers. Think of Jesus’ mother, Mary, as she receives the news from the angel Gabriel. At first she is afraid but by the end of this encounter she is willing to be the mother of Jesus. At Jesus’ birth she ponders the meaning of his birth. I imagine that there were times when Jesus was in the wilderness after his baptism where he was silent. There are examples of silence in both the Old and New Testaments which invite us to learn more about the importance of silence.
I am writing this from my annual Advent retreat at the Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, New York. I have spent most of this week in silence, attending the different liturgies that the monastery offers as well as rest and sleep. As I grow in my own spiritual practice of daily prayer and meditation, I am conscious each day how much I look forward to my daily practice of silence. I want you, too, to share in the benefits of this spiritual practice.