I sat on the worn porch steps, alone in the peaceful dark of winter. The blue-black sky was pierced with stars, studded in the familiar patterns of the season, and the quarter moon floated silently, a white boat sailing westward through the night.
Not only the moon was silent. The world held its breath, too frozen to speak. I celebrated the cold, lifting my face to the moon's glow, closing my eyes, inhaling deeply, reaching with my spirit to take it all in. When I looked again, the cloud of my exhaling danced and dissolved before my eyes.
How can I explain the joy I felt as the chill settled into exposed skin and began working through my layers of clothing? Exhilaration, titillation, freedom, praise.
I breathe in, I breathe out. The Spirit flows with me. His breath gives me life. The chill is His touch, reminding me I am alive. Life is beautiful.
The penetrating quiet fills me with wonder. As far as my hearing can reach, not a creature is stirring, not a branch creaking, not a leaf whispering to its neighbor. After the fierce winds of yesterday, this soundless landscape is a welcome relief, but there is more. Who is this God who can shake a world or make it still at His whim? He can shout in a tempest, call from the flames, but more often He waits for me to be quiet and listen in stillness. In smallness. In infinitesimal infinity. As I grow more and more aware of my smallness and His greatness, I feel more and more aware of His power in me, for me, through me. This is the wonder of the silent night - it is holy, full of His presence, even as my senses tell me it is empty and lifeless.
Thank you, Holy Father, for the boundless creativity of Your creation. Thank you tonight for cold, clear, dry, silent nights. Such nights as this remind me You are holy, wholly other, pure and lovely. Thank you that every place can be a sacred space when I pay attention to You. Alleluia! Amen.