"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Advent Noise


I feel it creeping it's way into my mind and my soul.  A cacophony.

Pushing in and crowding out, the noises of the Christmas season, circle and engulf.  Do you feel this way?

The "to-do" list is long and the activities are in full swing.  Advent noises...

And actually most of the Christmas noise is truly joyful.

They are noises I have chosen.  And, noises I invite...

...The extra reading times, playing times, fun times with my kids off school...
...Friends over and Christmas carols pulsating around my home.
...The wrapping of carefully chosen gifts.
...The making of ornaments for dear friends.
...The "baking day" my kids look forward to each year and opening our home to any who might come join us to decorate that special ginger bread man!
And, the plans to cook, to clean, to give this and give that---  sweet joys of Christmas, really, sweet noise.

But, piled up and stacked high these joys can feel heavy and overly loud.  Creeping, pressuring, pulsing noise can fill my soul.

I have been asking Father God to help me slow down each day enough to hear Him, to see Him, to worship Him.  And, as I sit... I find it hard.  I feel the noises running around my mind crowding out His voice.

So, I had a thought last night as I discussed this with my Father in Heaven.

I don't feel He is asking me to stop the activities of Christmas--- the joys of giving, serving, singing, playing --- the people and the parties.  I feel He is inviting me to stop the "extra" noises I can control and choose.  I can turn off any excess noise I don't really need this week.  I can "turn down" the knobs that I don't need this week.

And, so, I am choosing Advent Silence this week.  ---no media, no computer, and nothing extra to add to the beautiful noises of advent.  That means no television.  No movies.  No internet.  No blog.  No email.(only one daily uick scan of email to keep in contact with my widely spread overseas family!)

I am shutting down all and any extra noise.  And, I will go looking for quiet and silence.

When I wrap those presents,  I will do it in silence and quiet.
When I write the Christmas cards, I will do it with no extra noise around me (minus the beautiful noises of my children, the ringing phone and the wizzing of the washing machine).

I don't really need to watch "another" Christmas movie? Do I?  Or, read that blog right now?  Or, just check facebook one more time.  I can turn off those noises.

So, this will be my last post until after Christmas.  I am shutting down.  ...in search of a bit of silence to balance the beautiful noises of the Season.
"Silence means rest, rest of body and mind, in which we become available for God."  ~Henri Nouwen, "Training"
 "Silence is the discipline that helps us to go beyond the entertainment quality of our lives." ~Henri Nouwen, "Can you drink the cup"
"What finally matters is that our hearts become like quiet cells where God can dwell, wherever we go and whatever we do.  The more we train ourselves to spend time with God and God alone, the more we will discover that God is with us at all times and in all places.  Then we will be able to recognize God even in midst of a busy and active life."  ~Henri Nouwen, "Making All Things New"
May you find God's sweet voice and know His tender Presence in the midst of the lovely noises of the Advent Season.  May you have a Merry and Happy Christmas!
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