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Monday, December 24, 2007

December 007 -- Silent Night

December. What does one write about this last and, in a way, greatest of months?

This is the chapel in Frankenmuth, Michigan, dedicated to the hymn, "Silent Night". It is an exact replica of the chapel in which the hymn was first sung, that Christmas Eve so long ago.

Silent night. I've been thinking a lot about silence, lately. It seems that a number of things I've picked up to read, and a number of sermons and meditations recently have been about silence, and the lack of it in the modern world.

Everywhere we go, there is the blare of television, stereos, cell phones and loud conversations of private nature in public places. Especially in December. Already several weeks have been spent hearing the constant pitch of advertisements practically shoving us into buying, buying, buying. This will be the perfect Christmas, we are told, if only we buy the right necklace or Ipod or cellphone or SUV. The more money spent, the more perfect the Christmas, or so the story goes. And the chaos in our ears and mind and soul goes on. Christmas carols and movies, some sacred, some stupid, even some profane, assault our eyes and ears constantly. And it goes on and on, building to a fever pitch that culminates on December 25th. Then what? The very next day the trees are thrown out on the street, the decorations are turned off or taken down, and there is nary a Christmas carol to be heard anywhere.

This is not the true Christian (Catholic) tradition, although you have to look to find the real Advent being kept. The last few weeks of Advent are meant to be a time of silence, of waiting, perhaps even of fasting and extra prayer, all preparing for the true feast which begins tonight. A time of silence...

Each Advent I do my best to follow the true meaning of the season. Yes, we decorate about halfway through December, and I certainly enjoy my Christmas movies (classics all) and CD's. I enjoy seeing the lights go up on houses around the neighborhood, although I've noticed that this year there are a lot less. But I do not enjoy the constant bombardment of material promises for a wonderful season, as though that were all there were to life. I lost my sense of Christmas as a time for material gain a long time ago. Instead each December I have sought the spiritual, and each year I have not been disappointed.

Silent night. Our pastor tells us that Christmas and Christ must be found in the silence, that only in silence can we hear His voice, only in silence can we find our true selves, strength, wisdom, and the center of ourselves. Silence has always been important to me. In my evening walks with Buddy, in hiking by myself at the Canyon, in finding places in nature to be silent and meditate, I find my strength, my center, my peace.

Silent night. May the world one day find silence, and wisdom, and peace; the ever-renewing gifts of the Christ Child. Then all will be calm, all will be bright. Sleep tonight, world, in heavenly peace.



Blogger Kathy said...

Thank you Pat. I will seek silence.

3:59 PM  
Blogger Roxie said...

(whispers) You bring stillness to the center of my whirling day. Did you know that you are a messenger of peace?

7:22 AM  
Blogger cyndy said...

Merry Christmas, Pat!

And thanks for the beautiful photos and history of the Chapel, and the message of silence...

4:57 PM  
Blogger KnitNana said...

yes. yes.
and yes.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Heidi said...

Amen! I hope you had a peaceful, blessed Christmas.

5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a lurker and feel blessed to have come upon your Christmas Eve post. Even if it is Jan. 9th. already.Thank you very much from one who shares your same feelings.

4:57 PM  

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