Silence and Jollification

Silence and Jollification December 14, 2023

Christmas is coming and so we hush in hopeful anticipation. Anticipation right before a big event causes most of us to hold our breath. We wait and stop talking lest our words distract us from what is about to happen.

Stillness can be hard for me when something exciting is coming like Christmas. A wise old relative once asked me if I had ever heard of anyone talking themselves to death, because if that were possible, then I might be in danger! Safe to say “talking in class” earned me more than one visit equivalent to a trip to the House Head. Education requires times of stillness as an idea, so exciting, begins to form, and too often I found (and find!) myself talking over the moment.

In my marriage, my friendships, in all of life, anticipation brings silence. Even if the silence is then broken by bells, trumpets, or angels proclaiming gloriously, the silence is first.

This last week I have had a cold, no big deal, but it cost me my voice for a few days. A teacher who must be mostly silent has lost a good deal of the tools he uses!


Yet I find that being forced to be silent, to listen more, to express what I feel in gestures, is good for me. I spend more time waiting, rehearsing for Christmas Eve. Silence is not just so I can find more noise, plug headphones into my ears to drown out the stillness, but a chance to see. In the silence, waiting for Christmas, we have a chance to look. What do we see if we look Godward? We see “radiant beams” from His Holy Face. We have peace, because however troubled the times Jesus is Lord from His birth.

The next moment after the silence comes and it is glorious. At a holiday the anticipation at Christmas Eve service culminates when we see the True Light in the service. In our family, the moment before opening the good gifts, leads to seeing what love has wrought.  Finally, the silence comes at the hour of death when the next waking vision is the Savior.

The waiting, the stillness is, the preparation for the party.

All this silence, waiting, listening, looking is countdown before the joy that comes to the world. We are silent because there is about to be angelic choirs. We fast before the Nativity because we are about to be invited to a party. Jollification, a great feast, will be the culmination of history. The revelry, celebration, feasting at the Lamb’s Supper is where we are heading. We anticipate this in every party, every child-like game, every Christmas joy.

But first comes the silence, the silent night, holy night.

With my community, I long to be still together, full of awe, and look for the advent of Christ the King. Soon we will feast, sing “Alleluia,” and find joy in this world anticipating the world to come.

The cosmos holds its breath waiting for this Christmas and that final Christmas yet to come.

God bless us everyone!

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