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December - A Sense of Quietude

This month creation beckons us to silence, inviting us to be still. Woodchucks and chipmunks sleep in underground dens, crickets have ceased chirping, abandoned bird nests are mute, most leaves have fallen, and squirrels gather in nests to conserve energy.

Life that persists and even thrives in this lovely month does so quietly. Christmas ferns adorn slopes in the woods, the Geminid meteor shower peaks high above, fir trees and pines maintain a peaceful presence, and if we’re lucky, snow soundlessly graces every branch.

In his book Dropping the Struggle, Roger Housden reminds us, “The great work of being human is to live in the worlds of stillness and movement, time and timelessness, at one and the same time.” Challenging us he writes, “You don’t have to get to silence…you only have to recognize that stillness at the center of time is already here. It’s a direct experience, not a journey.”

It is possible to live this Advent season as a direct experience rather than a journey. We may practice this work of being human, imitating the stillness and quiet movement of December all around us. What a simple preparation for the feast of Sacred Embodiment.

May you have a quiet Advent and joyful Christmas.

Photo of Christmas ferns in the Oblate woods by Sister Maxin


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