Celtic Missional Advent December 22nd: The Wisdom of Silence

Advent December 22nd: Saint Ulthan’s Day
Luke 2:15-19
The wisdom of silence

“So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.”

monastery at Taghadoe, perhaps founded by Tua Ultan
monastery at Taghadoe, perhaps founded by Tua Ultan

The strange events of the birth of Christ were to be just the beginning of things to come. Mary could have bragged about this wild and wonderful beginning to the life of her firstborn son, but instead we read that she “kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” The wisdom of silence is an under appreciated value. Mary exhibits great restraint, and keeps these things close and quiet. In a world of self-promotion, and bragging, quiet humility is a precious commodity. In a world wanting to have all the answers, both aggressive questioning, and having all the answers is respected, but silence in the face cocky opposition is a characteristic of strength. The missional person does not need to have all the answers. The missional person does not need to be a self-absorbed self-promoter. Missional power is increased by understanding silence, and its power.

December 22 is Saint Ulthan’s Day. It is said of the Irish Saint Tua Ulthan that he had a Lenten practice of placing a stone in his mouth to keep himself from speaking.

Prayer: Lord, teach me the power of silence. Teach me that I do not need to have all the answers. Teach me that I do not need to boast in order to appear as though I am something special. Teach me to work in silence as much as I work in Your Word.

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