Most of us don’t want to be downers during Christmastime, but sometimes we can’t help it. Work deadlines get in the way. Final exams stress us out. Malls get insanely crowded and Christmas parties feel like a chore. Sometimes we lose touch with friends and can’t help but feel their vacancy. Other times we experience spiritual dryness and feel abandoned by God.
We can’t seem to shake off this gnawing feeling of restlessness from our hearts.
So what’s the antidote? Christmas movies say it’s all about getting into the “Christmas spirit”—being immersed in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, rocking around the Christmas tree, and reconnecting with loved ones. And that may be so, but I think we’re also missing something profound: silence.
When I opened a book called The Imitation of Mary, I stumbled upon a section about what to do when you’ve lost touch with Jesus:
“You will also find Him in solitude, through practices of devotion, especially in the solitude of the heart, which means in the silence of the passions and in recollection.”
“He Himself invites you to betake yourself there and listen to His voice that you may hear the words of eternal life (Jn 6:68), which issue from His lips. There is where He has been sought, and is still sought, by those who sincerely wish to draw near to Him, whether they have wandered far from Him through a perverse and sinful life or have simply lost sight of Him through lukewarmness and deliberate dissipation.”
“You want Him to pour out on you the riches of His love; then open your heart to Him without reserve.”
Far from busying ourselves with who-knows-what to distract us from this interior restlessness, the advice is quite contrary: Solitude. Recollection. Silence. Reflection. Prayer.
As St. Augustine of Hippo says, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
In some ways, maybe this restlessness is a blessing in disguise. It’s like hunger—we wouldn’t be motivated to find nourishment if we didn’t experience it. So if no amount of parties you attend or low budget Christmas movies you watch can shake the restlessness away, maybe it’s a sign that you should try something different.
Try getting away from the “craziness” of the Season once in a while to spend quality time with Jesus. Maybe then you’ll experience the joy and peace He is so willing to give.
P.S. Merry Christmas!! (in advance)