May the Stillness of Christmas Eve Be with You!
The Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner paints for us the wonder of the night when Jesus was born. “The eternal future has entered our time. Its brightness is still dazzling, so that we believe it to be night. But it is a blessed night, a night that is already warmed and illuminated, a beautiful night, cozy and sheltering, because of the eternal day that it carries in its dark womb. But it is so for us only if we allow the stillness of that night to enter our inner person . . .” (“Understanding Christmas,” Theological Investigations, Volume XXIII.)
Let us pray daily during Advent to “allow the stillness of that night” to enter and enliven us. This stillness contains three dimensions: silence, the experience of being anchored and inner peace.
Interior silence prepares me to hear the words Jesus speaks even when the noise of my day and my life envelops me. This silence is not easy to achieve! If it were we would all be saints by now! Actually, inner silence is not achieved at all; it’s a divine gift given as we rest in the embrace of God, one moment at a time, one breath at a time.
To be anchored is a calming state of being. It is the firm conviction that I am secure. In prayer it's the strong awareness that I am so precious in God’s eyes that God holds me safe where no fear can rock me. I'm anchored by God's grace in the very person of God.
Finally, inner peace springs from the conviction that my life is full to overflowing, just as it is, here and now, blessed by God. I can say and believe that I am enough and I have enough because God is my All. This deep peace characterizes my interior world even as it spreads out to my relationships.
I believe that these three dimensions of “the stillness of that night” create the dazzling and blessed splendor we experience amid the darkness. God gifts each of us, not just those alive long ago, with the stillness we yearn for every day of our life. Will I be ready for the birth of Jesus this year? Each December I have another opportunity to focus on my journey to be one with Him in inner stillness.