“The voice of one crying in the wilderness is the voice of one breaking the silence.” St. Augustine
It could be the voice of boredom, or of failure that makes you numb, disabling you to relish the “petty “beauty of life around you. It could be the voice of anger seething into some dangerous expression, tearing down your appetite for food and the holiday hues. It could be the voice of a loss of self-confidence after being publicly maligned or denied of one’s right. Or they could also be voices of merriment, or of a peaceful sense of contentment over what life is handing. “The sea has many voices; many gods and many voices,” TS Eliot delivered. But then, experience teaches us that the purple, gloomy ones are much harder to deal and name with than the pink and hopeful ones. In our Advent wreath, 3 are purple and there’s the lone, pink one catchy of our attention in the way it stands out. Yet, side by side we light all of them, actually acknowledging the dark-light tandem of existence. As we light every purple Advent candle, we are actually giving permission to name those voices within us, especially those voices that seem to tempt us to believe that God has been silent. Every lighted purple candle breaks that silence; every lighted pink candle breaks God’s “silence.”
I have lit that candle of hope before, and had that silence broken in the first miscarriage we had. We were a few steps from the locked doors of the emergency section of the hospital run by nuns. The distress was palpable on my wife’s face as we waited for the ER doctor and nurse, a wait that ended up in the “final flush” of the fetal remain. There was utter loneliness within compounded by the financial worry over the D&C (dilation and cutterage). It was one of the longest waits we ever had, a real Advent and the voices that were crying were loneliness and pain. But we keep believing, trusting that only God and God’s assurance of a steadfast love can cut through our deepest grief and eventually heal us. No one else.
What’s the voice that waits to cry from within you? Give it a name, light it. You need not be Catholic to spark your own match, on top of the fact that matches are affordable enough. Advent simply means that those who share in this rich tradition can break the silence together, can light those voices together, can make sense of the waiting together. We need not be alone and this is Advent’s beauty for us.
Photo credit: akuman1