Is Advent a hushed season? A time for quiet reflection?
I’d like it to be. I love quiet like few other things. “Silent Night” is my kind of carol.
Of course, my children prefer “Jingle Bells.” The five-year-old, especially, loves singing it at top volume at the dinner table.
I suppose there’s room for both of us this time of year. Room for quiet as I read the Advent devotional each night by candlelight (well, we’re at least aiming for quiet each night). Room for joyful noise from kids too excited to keep it all in. Presents! Parties! Bunkbeds at Grammy’s house!
Scripture, I fear, is not on my side in this tug-of-war. Once again, the child-like response may be the more spiritual (regardless of my own headache at one more round of “Jingle Bells”).
Mary did not wait in silence. Having responded with child-like faith to the angel’s strange pronouncement, she sang a song.
The silent one? Zechariah. Having heard the impossible news that he would have a son who would prepare Israel for the coming Christ, he said with the reasoning of an adult, “How can I be sure of this?” And, so, his mouth was shut (I suppose in order to keep him from uttering any more foolishness). His tongue remained tied until he held his miracle baby in his arms.
Somehow, this time of year, our house is actually noisier than at any other time. The volume, in every sense, has been turned way up. As much as I’d like to dial us all back down, I do believe (deep, deep down) that joyful noise is the only honest response to the story we’ve been given. Do you truly believe that God himself once visited us? That God both created and then walked upon the dirt beneath your feet? How can silent solemnity be the most appropriate response to such glorious ridiculousness?
Yes, I do mean to write ridiculous. We Christians put so much effort into trying to make ours appear to be a rational, reasonable faith. Personally, I think the whole idea of incarnation is so marvelous, so impossible, so unimaginably good, that to call this faith reasonable seems to do it a disservice.
Alas, my faith is not reasonable. God is not reasonable. A King born in a stable? Totally unreasonable.
Remembering this, I want to laugh like Sarah laughed.
Maybe tonight, after the Advent reading, we’ll sing a rousing rendition of “Jingle Bells” by candlelight.