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Be Still and Know

Our world is so noisy and distracting. Confusion and contention abound. Discordant voices constantly compete for our attention. The modern war of words is incessant and tumultuous. Media’s cacophony of newscasters, influencers, and evangelists seems never-ending.

Even when we’re not being bombarded with a barrage of information and ideas, we’re often too busy to appreciate the silence. Almost everyone is in continual pursuit of education, money, social lives, and entertainment.

Yet most of us can’t seem to get enough of the clamor and chaos. In fact, too often we crave more. Too many of us reach for our smart phones the instant we wake up. Then after our morning social media fix, we spend all day on computers, surfing the Internet, playing video games, watching sports and mindless TV shows, and listening to loud music. Then as though the rock, rap, and heavy metal music weren’t already loud enough, we pipe it through headphones and Airpods directly to our eardrums so we can crank it up even louder.

None of these pastimes is inherently bad. But perhaps we’ve become so desensitized in our over-stimulated world that we no longer even realize the tremendous benefits and blessings that we’re sacrificing to sustain it.

We all need time alone with our thoughts and feelings. Quiet time. Time to think. To mediate, ponder, and contemplate. To enjoy God’s creations and be one with the universe. To breathe deeply and hit the reset button.

God’s majestic creations have the capacity to soothe and rejuvenate our souls. Take time to stargaze away from the city lights and contemplate what matters most. Make time to feel the earth and dirty your hands planting a garden. Find time to hike in the mountains and hear the breeze rustling quaking aspen leaves. There’s nothing more relaxing than a coastal sunset, listening to ocean waves rhythmically breaking on the shore. It’s especially surreal and magical being outside in a heavy snowfall, enveloped in stillness as the freshly fallen blanket of white absorbs sound and light.

Wherever your quiet places are, be sure to frequent them. Commune there with your own immortal soul and with everything divine around you. Establish that pattern now, and make it a lifelong pursuit. You owe it to yourself. If there’s anything in this world you’re entitled to, some peaceful quiet stillness is definitely it. Don’t let the world or your own doubts tell you otherwise.

Internationally recognized stress expert Peggy Sealfon reminds us, “When you enter a place of stillness, you awaken the divinity within you.” Ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu similarly taught, “Be still. Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity.” And motivational speaker

Wayne Dyer sagely observed, “Everything that’s created comes out of silence. Your thoughts emerge from the nothingness of silence. Your words come out of this void. Your very essence emerged from emptiness. All creativity requires some stillness.”

Christmastime provides a special reminder of the human need to periodically be still and remember the greatest gifts in our lives. The oft-sung carol “Still, Still, Still” begins:

Still, still, still

One can hear the falling snow

For all is hushed

The world is sleeping

Holy star, its vigil keeping

Still, still, still

One can hear the falling snow

The god of Christendom reminds us that only those who are still can hear heaven’s “still, small voice.” (1 Kings 9:12). And He further invites us to “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10).

So, whether you’re a believer or a non-believer, religious or non-religious, a member of this denomination or that, give yourself a special gift this holiday season. Treat yourself regularly to the supernal gift of stillness. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, one that will bless your life and the lives of your loved ones through time and all eternity.


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