Have you ever flown at night? Whenever I have an opportunity to fly at night, I always try to get a window seat. As I gaze out the window of the plane, there is nothing but black and quiet...the later at night the flight, the better...It is as if no one is on the plane with me, and I am the only person alive in the world. I find that I love the quiet...the stillness...the sense of infinity that comes in a black night sky...I always sense the presence of God in the vast expanse, and no words are ever necessary.
In contemplative practice, we are encouraged to sit...in complete silence and stillness. The Old Testament prophet Habakkuk said this:
The Lord is in his holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before him.
We Americans don't do silence particularly well, I'm afraid. We are talking and texting, and ever multi-tasking...and even during one of the holiest seasons of the year, it is especially difficult to stop moving...to stop our planning and preparing...to cease our shopping and our baking and our candle-stick making...
I have an idea..a spiritual practice for us to try during Advent. Let's decide right now...today, that before the season has ended, we will, each one of us...take time, a few short minutes, and intentionally sit quietly in the dark. Plan the time...set it aside...bring a candle...just one candle...sit still, in silence...and then light the candle.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned.
In the quiet...tune your heart to anticipate his coming.