At Christmas, God speaks to us in a way far more profound and mysterious than any other kind of speech known to man: He communicates to us through the Word made flesh.
The task of Advent, which is just weeks away, is to prepare for hearing this Word of God.
I would like to suggest that one of the most important ways of doing this is through cultivating silence. For Catholics this advice might have the ring of truth to it, but it is also completely counter-cultural. For this time of year is very much a season of noise — Salvation Army Santas ringing their bells, bustling shoppers, the cacophony of airports teeming with travelers, and, eventually, family crowding around a Christmas tree or dinner table.
And yet silence is vital to living out our faith during Advent. I believe this is the case because of the intimate relationship between listening and silence in the context of Advent. An essential precondition of receiving of the Word of God made flesh is that we are actually listening and looking out for Him. …