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Ruth’s article in the December Diary November 22, 2017

Posted by nicholastufton in The Diary Monthly letter.

How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given.

During December, windows have lit up in Barkway with the theme of many different Christmas songs and carols. Some speak of the fun to be had at Christmas, of sleighs and bells and Santa Claus. Some remind us of snow and cold and the evergreen holly and ivy. Some tell of the story at the heart of Christmas of a baby born in a stable, greeted by shepherds and angels in the midst of a noisy Middle-Eastern town packed with people come to register in a census.

This ‘little town of Bethlehem,’ busy and full of activity, had at its centre the still focus of a young woman giving birth. The child who was born, the Christ Child, had been conceived like most other children in the silence and darkness of the womb. For Christians, that baby was God himself come into our world.

For some, silence is a rare gift in our world today. For some it weighs heavily. Recently, three films made in monasteries across the country were shown on television. There was no commentary, almost no speech but just the sounds of everyday tasks, of birdsong, of running water, of bees. Beautiful to watch, it was challenging in its silence.

Our gift giving at parties and on Christmas morning may be far from silent, especially in households with children. Cries of anticipation and delight accompany the giving of presents. But other gifts are given in silence: the money quietly sent to charity; the Christmas cards dropped into the postbox to friends far away; the smile to encourage a nervous child; the open arms welcoming family and friends.

How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given

So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heaven.

It is often in moments of quietness that we become conscious of God’s presence with us, which is at the heart of Christmas, the heart of the Christian faith. We realise that God lives in us and with us, and in the silence gives us the gifts of his love, his strength and his peace.

May you find times of quietness amidst the busyness this Christmas and in the silence, receive his gifts of love and strength and peace.




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