Saturday, December 3, 2011
Small Signs of God - Morning Stillness
Why is the morning so still? Why is the time between darkness and dawn so very quiet? The night voices begin to quiet themselves and the morning voices , like me, are hesitant to start moving. Stillness. I open my eyes and leave the warm space to listen and wait. As the first rays of light peek through the trees, the morning noises, one by one, come to life. Another day. Another new morning reminds me of the words from Isaiah, "Morning by morning He wakens - wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught."( Isaiah 50:4)
I have learned the quiet before dawn is what rescues me from the perils of the day. The stillness and quiet waiting are when I hear the voice of God, assuring me that the One who brings his first rays of light to creation is also bringing me a ray of light, a ray of hope, a ray of guidance. It is the example Jesus gave to his disciples where, "In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went to a deserted place, and there he prayed. (Mark 1:35.) The Christ child teaches us.
I cannot help but wonder about those who miss the quiet before the dawn. Admittedly, sometimes I am one of those, but choosing to miss the lonely, quiet place of silence is dangerous. Henri Nouwen, in his book Out of Solitude says: "Somewhere we know that without a lonely place our lives are in danger. Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, without distance closeness cannot cure. Somewhere we know that without a lonely place our actions quickly become empty gestures."
Where is the place of "somewhere?" The answer lies in my Advent reading for today.
"God wants to open the heart before it opens itself to the world; before the ear hears the innumerable voices of the day, the early hours are the time to hear the voice of the Creator and Redeemer. God made the stillness of the early morning for himself." (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is In the Manger)
Open my heart, God, to your day and let me always show up as you wait for me in the stillness of the early morning.