As we journey this last week toward Christmas, we celebrate the young girl Mary, who without respect to personal cost, said “yes” to the invitation to become the mother of Jesus. “Let it be with me according to your word (Luke 1:38).”
This “yes” is a good thing. We are enthralled by the might and power of this event. If we are blessed enough to sense our own deep hunger that is the voice of God calling us, we can be drawn into a lifetime of asking the question: “To what is God calling me?” We open ourselves to the grace of the Holy Spirit and pray for the courage to say “yes.”
But what about “no?” Or, more specifically, what my spiritual director calls The Holy No? I am not speaking about saying “no” to God but rather about saying “no” to some of the many things that call us into action or engagement in the busy, cacophony of this world. I am coming to realize that this Holy No is a spiritual discipline about which I know little. I am finding I need more time. But not more time so that more activity or projects can be birthed. I need more time for quiet and prayer. More time and space to discern those instances when I need to politely yet firmly say “no,” or at the very least “not now.”
This year, when Christmas Eve arrives, when I sing that familiar hymn, I think it will take on a new meaning for me as we welcome in that silent night, that holy night, and with it the promise of heavenly peace.