From Season of Promises
Silence makes things whole again, by taking them back from the world of dissipation into the world of wholeness. It gives things something of its own holy uselessness, for that is what silence itself is: holy uselessness.
(Max Picard, The World of Silence)
Advent is a quiet time. But Advent is sometimes overwhelmed by the noise and activity of the Shopping Season. What can we do? What? We can carve out a few minutes each day – at the beginning of the day, perhaps, or at the end of the day – when nothing happens except waiting in silence for the coming of Christ. Nothing except waiting in silence, holy silence.
In the first decade of the 20th century, a young Swiss physician, Max Picard, grew disillusioned with a medical profession that was losing sight of the humanity of the patient. Max Picard left medicine, moved to an obscure little village, and became a Roman Catholic philosopher. He wrote about silence and the holy uselessness of silence.
The first Advent was a time of silence when all the world was at peace. The shepherds watched in silence. The magi, atop their loping camels, rode in silence across the silent desert. The animals in the stable waited in silence. During this Advent, then, should we not spend a little time each day waiting in holy silence for the coming of Christ at Christmas? Should we not take time every day to set aside the activities of the Shopping Season so we can wait in the holy uselessness of silence?
If we wonder how Advent can come alive, have more meaning for us as a religious season, this is how. This is how. If we wait in holy silence for a few minutes each day of Advent, then this holy season will come alive. If we do nothing but wait and hope. In silence.
Lord of Advent, help me to await your coming in holy silence. Amen.