Advent and Profound Silence

Have you ever tried playing the quiet game with a child? The younger the child, the more likely you are to win the game. I know. I’ve had my less-than-stellar parenting moments when I start the game in a vain hope of attaining some peace and quiet after a long day. The trouble with that game, as any parent knows, is that children just can’t stay quiet. It’s too hard, because the world is so new and exciting to them, and they are so busy asking questions about it and sharing their observations that they just can’t contain themselves. In the eyes of a child, the world is moving much too fast to waste any time being silent.

winter trees and snowAs adults, we pride ourselves on thinking we’d win the quiet game any day. I wonder if we would be so successful if the tables were turned on us. Imagine that we take the place of the child, with God the Father inviting us to play the quiet game. But by God’s rules, we don’t just have to stop talking, we are asked to pause and truly be present in the silence. Honestly, I would not fare well at that game most days.

In this society that moves at warp speed and has an opinion on everything and tries to do it all and have it all and record it all on Facebook, it’s just so hard to be quiet. But there is God, smiling down and asking us to play the quiet game, not because God is the tired parent who just needs a break from us, but because God knows the power of silence.

Our most profound moments in life are marked by silence.

  • The anxious silence as parents await their newborn’s first cry.
  • A man’s panicked silence as the woman he loves considers his nervous marriage proposal.
  • The respectful silence as we remember our dead.
  • Our silent presence when we simply have no words to ease someone’s suffering.
  • The silent promises we make when looking into the eyes of someone we love.
  • The silence that stretched across the world when Francis first prayed with us as our new pope.
  • The silent beauty of God’s creation witnessed as we watch winter’s first snowflakes fall gently from the sky.

Yes, the precious moments, the holy moments, are marked by silence.

Elijah found God not in the strong winds, nor earthquakes, nor fire, but in the silence (1 Kings 19:11-12). God is inviting us into the silence; what precious, holy moments await us there this Advent season?


  1. Silence can feel terribly like lonliness. The silence of the sick room disconcerting. The silence of our phones expressing I am with you. Let pray for those who inhabit these silences. That God will gently whisper I am here.

  2. For me Silence is so very tricky. I like it around me~ surrounding me cause that just lets inside me go wild ~ thoughts and plans and my stuff just consumes me~ letting go~handing over~ quieting, really quieting me is so very hard!!!! I must get back to the PRACTICE and discipline. I needed to read this today. Thank you.

  3. thank you for the reminder, cara, of the advent call to silence…the deeper silence that makes us in touch with the longing for our God, for Emmanuel in our lives, in the needy places of our lives and our world.


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