“God shook the earth; God made the nations tremble.
The eternal mountains were shattered . . .” – Habakkuk 3:6
In Advent we walk on tiptoe, a finger to our lips. A mystery is unfolding in a womb. Contemplation is in order now. Let us be still.
Yet a quiet Advent is at odds with its typical scriptures. They suggest a ruckus, not a retreat. Stars fall, moons collide, nations groan. God rips open the heavens. Torrents of justice hit parched earth with ear-splitting force. Mountains quake, fire erupts, seas boils. It’s a season for insomniacs—wake up, stay awake, watch out, heads up, on your feet! The Baptist cries out, heralds announce on mountaintops, the Daughter of Zion’s loud exultation keeps her neighbors tossing and turning into the wee hours. God clears the threshing floor, sleeves rolled up. Sweaty blacksmiths beat swords into plowshares. Heavy equipment is lined up to bulldoze, level, straighten, build.
If we ever imagined that our healing would be a gentle, quiet thing, the Advent scriptures correct us. It’s noisy heavy-lifting. So if we grow quiet in Advent—if we use our indoor voices and walk on tiptoe—let it be so that all the world might better hear this divine rumpus that saves us, the crashing and banging God’s ancient promises make as one by one they all come true.
In the quiet of Advent, O God, our ears of faith hear you at work for us and our salvation. By this loving commotion, swell our hope and make us glad. Amen.
Mary Luti is a long time seminary educator and pastor, author of Teresa of Avila’s Way and numerous articles, and founding member of The Daughters of Abraham, a national network of interfaith women’s book groups.