With all of the Christmas preparations that await our attention, pause for a moment to ponder the miracle that is the birth of Christ. God is not remote, removed, disinterested. He is so passionately in love with us, so interested in our attention, that He went to great lengths to reveal Himself to us.
Interestingly, He reveals Himself most readily in silence. Recently, I was struck by the magnificence and splendor found in silence.
Walking down streets of a French city, not knowing a soul, not understanding a word of what is being spoken, changes how you experience your day. Your ear does not attempt to eavesdrop on the conversations tinkling around you as you can’t decipher the messages. Your eyes are over stimulated by the enormous differences that exist between daily life where walking or riding a bike can be the main source of transportation and daily life spent shuttling around in a car. Your taste buds are hyper aware of the unique combination of flavors in each new dish you try. All of your senses are on high alert; there are people moving everywhere.
And then you take a detour. From the markets, bakeries, and coffee shops which are over stimulating, you take refuge in the cool silence of a museum. The simplicity of the natural stone and the Gothic architecture are like a beacon calling you to enter.
As you climb the stone stairs worn smooth by the shoes of thousands who have passed before you, you recognize that there is something different about this museum. You discover that the building which currently houses one of the most unique collections of Roman sculpture in the world, was originally home to the Hermits of St. Augustine. Construction on the convent, the city within a city, originated in 1341 and at one point was home to over 200 monks. Popularity of the order declined and the order ended with the French Revolution. (Learn more here.)
Walking through the high ceilinged spaces, the silence is permeated by the remaining fragments of prayer of the men who built the walls, painted the art, sculpted the busts, and tended the fruit trees in the garden so that the rooms while silent do not seem quiet at all. The orderliness of the central garden brings to mind the structure of a day focused primarily on giving glory to God in all things.
In each room, you marvel at the peace which awaits each visitor whose heart is in tune with the song of the Holy Spirit. While the artwork draws your attention to the events of Jesus’s life, it is the architecture which provides the framework for the silence to exist.
As the pace accelerates approaching Christmas:
Take a moment.
Still your soul. Breathe.
Know that you are magnificently loved.
Let His Peace permeate your soul as you ponder His love.
Rejoice in thanksgiving as you are, where you are, for all He has given to you.
Oh Jesus, Peace of my soul, remove all barriers in my heart, overflow as I leave this stillness.
Remain with me
as I pick up my
I remember You
in the silence of my soul.