We're barely past Thanksgiving but we all know that Christmas is coming.
You can almost hear the collective groan as we anticipate the frantic rush of the next four weeks, shopping, parties and other demands of the season that can leave us exhausted at just the thought of it.
Into this crushing press comes the invitation to wait for the coming King in silence. The discipline of silent waiting is an ancient spiritual practice of the Christian church that is all but forgotten in our age of cell phones, iPods and talk radio. But it is a practice worth looking into so that we might regain our balance and know true peace in the season dedicated to the Prince of Peace.
If you are interested in trying to incorporate a time of silent waiting into your life, here are a few things worth knowing:
First, silent waiting in the Christian tradition is never waiting like a bowl waits to be filled, but instead is waiting like a full bowl waiting to overflow. We have already received a promise from our God that enables us to be patient.
Second, silent waiting is not passive, but active. In other words, this isn't like waiting for the bus, where there is nothing to do but twiddle your thumbs. The Christian discipline of silent waiting means being fully present to the moment in the conviction that we are actively participating in what God is doing now.
Finally, there is a corporate aspect to this practice. We wait together, helping one another to keep the promise alive. There is immense power in communal waiting, participating with others in being silent.
During this season of Advent, as we sing "Silent Night" and "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence," we would do well to do just that.
Let us be renewed and refreshed in silence, and let us know the joy and peace of waiting.
The Rev. Brant D. Baker is lead pastor of First Presbyterian Church, 161 N. Mesa Drive, Mesa (www.fpcmesa). He has written about silence in his book "Teaching P.R.A.Y.E.R."