Advent is a time of anticipation. Awaiting the birth of Jesus, and his coming again to bring peace and justice to the earth. But, during this period of waiting and anticipation, it is important to be attentive to what is right in front of us. While throwing ourselves into the busy-ness of the season as we try to “get ready,” we frequently miss the magic and wonder that is before and around us. Amy Grant says it well in her song, “I Need a Silent Night”:
Too many malls, too many stores
December traffic, Christmas rush
It breaks me till I push and shoveChildren are cry
ing while mothers are trying
To photograph Santa and sleigh
The shopping and buying and standing forever in line
What can I say?I need a silent night, a holy night
To hear an angel voice through the chaos and the noise
I need a midnight clear, a little peace right here
To end this crazy day with a silent night”
We so often need that silent night where we are open to the wonder all around. It may be found in getting off the consumer treadmill and retreating to our home to sip hot cocoa in front of the fire. However, sometimes the wonder is found in being attentive to people precisely in those the places of chaos: Finding focus in small moments, like taking time to linger an extra moment to offer an encouraging word to the sales clerk who has spent the day serving grumpy customers; or holding a door for a harried parent or an elderly shopper, even though you are in a hurry. You may discover that while some need a silent night, there are others who live in the night all the time, and need some color, joy and frivolity to pierce their darkness. Jesus’ birth is not just about what happens Christmas day. It’s about seeing the Christ in those ordinary places everyday.
Please join us at First Congregational Church to find that silent night, and also the joy and the wonder where the Christ is born anew in our hearts and in community everyday.