The Gift of Silence

Do you have your own name written down on your Christmas list? If not, put it at the top right now.

I’ll make it simple for you and even tell you what to give yourself. Gift yourself with silence. That’s right—the glorious life-giving gift of soothing silence.

The gift of silence took me by surprise a couple of weeks ago. Not long after the early morning hubbub of going-to-school-and-work traffic had ceased, I went out to fill the birdbath with fresh water. As the sun shone brightly, the night’s heavy frost still glittered all around.

Happy to be out enjoying a few minutes in God’s beautiful world, I sang as I worked—until I realized my voice was the only sound I heard. I then stopped and listened.

I couldn’t believe it. Pure silence. No wind, no birdsong, no car humming down the street. Not even the rustle of leaves. It was as if the earth was holding its breath.

I looked around and drank in the frosty beauty of the cold fall morning. First one leaf and then another drifted to the ground without a sound, almost like following the cues of a conductor. A silent symphony in a soundless sanctuary. If it hadn’t been so cold, I would have lingered a little longer. I would have partaken more deeply of the solace of silence.

Yes, silence can heal. Silence refreshes and restores. It gives us a chance to take a deep breath and commune with the Father. We need silence but many times we don’t recognize it or take time for it.

At a writers conference I attended recently, Betsey Newenhuyse, editorial director of Moody Publishers and one of our workshop instructors, spoke about nurturing the Christian writer’s soul.

Betsey told us that mental stimulation is critically important for creative people, but she pointed out that we have a deep need for silence and peace as well. She reminded us how our lives are overstuffed and then cautioned us to think deeply about what we don’t need to do and to focus on what we need to know, not on things we don’t need to know. I’d say that’s good advice for anyone, writer or not.

Are we allowing time for silence in our lives? If not, what changes do we need to make to gift ourselves with its life-giving benefits?

Let’s not wait for the moments of silence that surprise us—though those are wonderful. Let’s seek out silence as well, especially during the holiday season. Let’s enter into a soundless sanctuary and wait for the silent symphony to begin. The Conductor stands ready to give the cues. Let’s accept his gift of peace.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters” Psalm 23:2

*Flickr photo by Zadok the Priest


  1. I love the picture you painted with your words–I felt so peaceful and refreshed just reading about the quiet leaves falling and the beauty of silence. What a great idea to make sure we make time for that ourselves this season! Thanks for the encouragement to do so!

  2. I learned this lesson during my cancer season. I didn’t know what a gift silence is until it befriended me during that time. I needed it then; I need it still. I try and make room for it every day, even if it means earplugs and shut bedroom doors.

    I like the idea of putting myself at the top of the Christmas list.

    Great thoughts, Cheryl.


  3. As you’ve probably realized, I don’t do silence very well. I’m always thinking of what I “should” be doing. But more and more hearing the call of quiet. I

  4. Emily, so glad you enjoyed the post!

    Elaine, sometimes we have to get pretty creative to enjoy those silent times, don’t we? I remember those days when my kids were still at home.

    Vonda, I’m a “doing” kind of gal, too, but also cherish quiet times. Hope you pursue and enjoy the quiet times that are calling to you!

  5. I love this!

  6. Thanks, Kristin! Glad you enjoyed!

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