I have been promised an MP3 player as a Christmas present. I am eagerly anticipating the opportunity to listen to my favourite podcasts and music tracks. However, this prospect prompted me to consider how we do anything we can to avoid silence: 24 hour news coverage in my dentist's surgery, in-flight films, seasonal (albeit secular) songs on the supermarket tannoy, the noisy list goes on...
Silence is uncomfortable. In moments of quiet reflection, we are confronted with truths we would rather bury under decibels of noise. Yet it is often in the silent moments that God speaks to us, with His still small voice [1 Kings 19] [Dear Lord and Father of Mankind].
I'm no quaker, but the principle of silence in the presence of God is far more ancient than George Fox's Society of Friends. "Be still and know that I am God" [Psalm 46].
So, just as on the Stille Nacht of the first Christmas, the quiet shepherds received a message from heaven, I recommend we all spend some time in silence this Christmas, quietly waiting for the salvation of the Lord. As the shepherds discovered, we find salvation when we find the Saviour - Christ the Lord...
How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven
No ear may hear His coming
But in this world of sin
Where meek souls will receive Him still
The dear Christ enters in.