I am searching for silence this season.
In many people's minds, the Christmas season is ushered in by the frantic shopping, pushing, shoving, and, of course, money spending of Black Friday, now fairly beginning before the last vestiges of turkey have even been digested from Thanksgiving dinner.
But in the Liturgical tradition, the Christmas season does not even begin until Christmas Day. Instead, it is ushered in by the four weeks of Advent, a penitential time in which Scriptures of judgment and a coming Messiah dominate the readings.
'Tis a far cry from endless dozens of commercials set to traditional holiday songs & jolly old St. Nick on every street corner (although I dare say the original St. Nicholas would find consternation in his modern image....).
Instead, it is a space to prepare for the wonder that is Emmanuel: God --here-- among us.
I loved decorating the Christmas tree with my two-year-old niece this year. Her surprise and wonder amazed me, then humbled me when I thought, "And so should we all feel about Christmas."
Instead we're jaded by jangling bells and taut nerves and waving wish lists.
We lose Christmas in our noise.
My prayer is that I can truly enter the silence, the waiting space, that is Advent.
...And that I may truly say "Merry Christmas!" this year.