Happy Holidays or The Silence of Christmas?

Happy Holidays or The Silence of Christmas?

Christmas crib figures representing Holy Family three wisemen and shepherds

happy holidays or the silence of Christmas
the silence of Christmas

Happy holidays or the silence of Christmas?

They are synonymous, aren’t they? Don’t both phrases [Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas] mean the same thing?

I used to think so. But now, I am not so sure.

I never understood all of the animosity of some Christians to the first phrase because “happy holidays” is merely a shorthand way to say, “happy holy days..”even if intended to be ‘woke’, the underlying meaning remains.

But this Christmas is different, as is so much else in our lives, in America, and this world. Like you, I often hear and read variations on “when we return to normal.”

I wonder about that.

I wonder about everything now: the election, the virus, vaccine, the pervasive politics in the church, and the governments which thrust themselves more and more into the ordinary lives of the citizens of this earth.

The numbers of words written on these subjects must exceed quadruple digit trillions.By choice, I no longer read them. On any subject.

It’s almost as if the mushrooming volume of expert opinions demands an opposite reaction: silence. Just so, this Christmas commands a different response from each of us: the silence of Christmas.

I think and therefore write frequently about silence. All my life I’ve been a wordsmith; fascinated and addicted to the chase for “le Mot Juste.” By now I have written and published enough to understand-and accept- that after my best efforts to write about a thing-anything– I can get close to the essence of it. But only close.

Because the truth of it lies outside.

This is true because of a long list of factors like language, preconceptions, the inherent bias and prejudice of our sources, and, primarily, the inescapable fact of our intrinsic ignorance. But we writers get addicted to our attempts to add something unique to the list.

The silence of Christmas

My last phrase, “inescapable fact of our intrinsic ignorance” might be offensive. Perhaps even disrespectful, but it is so very true. The Oracle at Delphi famously stated that Socrates was the wisest man who had ever lived because of his statement, “The only wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

When considering this 25th of December, 2020, the incarnation of the Word, which we celebrate now, the truest salutation is….

SILENCE

Finally, she reached the summit after years of
climbing stumbling, searching

Please,

she begged, I need the answer, please. One word,
one word only

 silence

 Desperate, she began the slow
lonely descent

  All
this time, all this work, all this- for nothing at all.

 Yet
there was this word, silence, that began an echo

Deep
within where thoughts are frozen

Deep
within where old tears and yearning live.

This
word striking cords both strange and familiar

                                          She dared to open her eyes to look, to see.

                                            It was as if time had stopped and she saw

                                                                   the mountains,

                                                                     the frozen river,

                                                                        her breath.

                          She stopped, for the first time in so many years, she stopped

                                                                standing still 

                                                                   listening

                                                                   waiting

                                And she heard and she knew and she saw

                                                                 silence

                                                             one Word

                                                           just One Word

A Search for the Sacred . . Kindle Edition.

10 Comments

  1. Cindy says:

    Oh my gosh, Lin,you’re words nourished, they held me up, they brought me back to…pausing, listening, being. And it reminded me I want to go back to a wonderful Podcast that has changed my life as I create and live in Silence. If you have not heard of it I hope you will try it out! It is called Encountering Silence.

    Thank you for “appearing” in my prayer today.

    Cindy

  2. Mary Baxstresser says:

    Thank you Lin for a beautiful reflection.

  3. Paul says:

    … silence …

  4. Rita wergowske says:

    Thank you for showing us the power of silence and the depth of the word.

  5. elizabeth koll says:

    Thank you, Lin, I will take these words in my mind and heart as I pray at the sidewalk. Liz

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.