Phillips Brooks, the Anglican priest who wrote the hymn, “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” offered a very rich phrase with his observation, “How silently, how silently, the wondrous Word is given…” The ubiquitous sound of Christmas music has accompanied me into almost every store and restaurant since late November. At its best, the music is quiet and reverent. At its worst, the music jars the mind with every imaginable form of cultural distortion. Thus my thoughts have turned to the silence of the Word.
The silence of the Word made flesh is a crucial aspect of the Incarnation. Though Christ taught – it is not as Teacher that the Church knows Him best: He is certainly not to be compared to other religious figures who are primarily known for their teaching. It is Who He is, and what He did and does that distinguish Him as Lord and Savior. Even the words spoken by Him need to be received into the silence of the heart, according the fathers of the Church.
In a very noisy season, it is worth pausing for silence – listening for the silence of the Word. Spoken into our hearts, the Word again “takes flesh,” as we hear Him in obedience.