The Discipline of Silence

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Shhhh……the time to celebrate the coming of the King is almost upon us! His glorious appearing is fast approaching. Have you prepared a way? Have you prepared your heart?

The time of Advent is traditionally celebrated as a time of preparation. It speaks of the long history of events leading up to the marvelous birth of Christ. It recalls the very first advent of the King, who appeared not with pageantry and noise, but rather in silence and obscurity, and made Himself known to those who were ready.

Autumn has passed like the final flicker of a burning flame with all the brilliant display of fall foliage, and we are left with death-like trees, a frosty chill in the air, and a darkness that envelopes the day. All of nature shifts into a dormant state in a life and death battle to survive the wrath to come.

It is now, when it seems we are locked into the heartless cycle of winter and all its unfeeling fury, that the quiet, steady light of hope for all mankind will appear. Amid the din of worldly cares, if we but make room for Him, He will come and be birthed anew in our hearts.

The season of Advent is meant to reflect upon how we, like those who have gone before us, grope along the dark path of life until the true Light shines into our soul. The four Sundays before Christmas mark the four traditional themes of the season: Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy.

The account from Genesis through Matthew chapter one, show mankind’s abrupt descent from Spring to Fall, and its headlong and headstrong plunge into a long, dark winter. For several thousand years, we see their desperate search for hope in a coming, conquering Messiah; their repetitive sacrifices for peace with God; their failed attempts at finding true love for God and man; and their pitiful lack of joy due in part to their refusal to submit fully to God.

But their quest does have an ending, and it is the same crossroad that we in our search reach as well. By His foretelling and by His coming, God has done His part. Repentance for your sins and a genuine belief that only such a thing as the death of Jesus could pay for your unending list of transgressions against a holy God, now rests upon you.

This spiritual transaction brings you salvation, which is your only hope to survive this winter called Life and blesses you with an intimate union with your Creator, the ultimate fulfillment of hope, peace, joy, and love. The long wait is over.

What a precious and blessed time of year that ought to be contemplated deeply, but the noise, the distractions, and the glitter of this holiday season attempt to rob your spirit of the peace, the focus, and the silence necessary for the true celebration of the coming King. The discipline of silence is a necessary practice to quiet the mind and quiet the soul, to prepare your heart to welcome your King.

Silence and stillness has its reward. In Genesis 1, out of the void came light. In John 1, out of the silence came Light. For the Christian, the command in Psalm 46 to, “Be still and know that I am God,” is a stillness of “letting drop; to relax, to refrain, abandon, or forsake.” It is clearly a quiet setting apart of oneself for a clear purpose. That purpose is to know that He is God. It is to learn of Him and take the necessary time to become acquainted with Him. The discipline of silence takes practice, and it also takes preparation. Make a place for Him.

Here is a picture of my “place.” It’s not perfect, but neither was the stall. It is what I have, what I can give Him poor as I am. My place is prepared, I have made ready. Now, like Mary, I wait for Him to arrive.

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Out of this silence comes the revelation of God’s rightful, exalted place above all nations and lands as seen in the rest of that verse. Out of this planned stillness before Him comes the revelation of who He is and who we are before Him. The reward is a proper perspective.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.” Poor is, “lacking in something; destitute of wealth of learning and intellectual culture which the schools afford; it is a position of begging and asking alms.”

The spirit that is poor is, “one that lacks the power of knowing, desiring, deciding and acting; the disposition or influence which fills and governs the soul of anyone.” We not only lack the stuff, but we also lack the will.

How wonderful it is that when we know that we lack understanding and wisdom, and the ability to act upon what we know, we can go to Christ, sit still before Him, and ask. In return, He says that to us belongs the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven is His rule and reign within us; His wisdom and power at work within us! All ability and knowledge are available through our intimate relationship with Christ! Make ready for His coming. Make room in your heart for Him.

Practice the discipline of silence. Sit humbly before your God reading His Word and spend the glorious golden hour of the day expectantly awaiting His coming, for with His coming He brings hope, peace, joy and love.

Merry Christmas to you!

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