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November 2013 - A Spiritual Preparation

At the back of St James’s Church is a sign “Act out of stillness, speak out of silence”. In November, which begins with All Souls day, historically people concentrated on things spiritual. This was not a morbid activity, adopted by a sense of decay arising out of autumn or the sobering thoughts of a harsh winter, but rather because “the busy world was hushed, the fever of life over and work done” so there was time to reflect on spiritual matters whilst gathered around the log fires for warmth.

It is as though our forebears needed this time to reconnect themselves with their ancestry, to be in tune with their spiritual existence and to understand from where they came and, more importantly, how to prepare themselves for the future. Stillness and silence dominate November; even its birthstone is the topaz, representing virtues of wisdom, courage and serenity.

As we prepare for the hectic festival of Christmas we should, if we are going to celebrate it right, take time out to reconnect ourselves with our spiritual lives, not because it is a religious thing to do, no, rather because it is the sensible thing to do so that we can get our preparations right. The stores would rush us from one festival to another hoping for bigger profits leaving little time for stillness and silence.

Let an ancient Psalmist be our guide here when he wrote, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him”. In other words, “Act out of stillness, speak out of silence” because our Christmas actions will be the better and our words the wiser.

The peace of the Lord be with us all.


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