A Cradle of Silence

by Catherine Doherty

My outdoor Russian shrine here in Combermere stands peaceful and quiet, its roof covered with snow. The Virgin of Kiev is reflected in the vigil light that always burns before her face. It looks especially beautiful in the dark of the winter nights.

Winter comes to greet me and leads me, slowly and gently, further into Advent, to the expected one—the child in the cave—the child who is God. How easy to imagine that snow and ice, trees and animals, share in my expectation. In December the island where I live sings of the coming of the Prince of Peace.

My island is bare now. And there is a stillness, a holy stillness that makes very real to me the works of the Christmas antiphons: “When the night was still, God’s Almighty Word leapt down from heaven.” (Wisdom 18:14-15)

My mind turns to that Holy Night. My mind spins a cradle of silence into which the Word who leapt from heaven comes to rest.

Adapted from Grace in Every Season, (2001), pp. 334-335, available from MH Publications