It was said that when the famous Austrian pianist, Artur Schnable, was asked the secret of his genius and heartfelt interpretation of Beethoven, he replied, “I don’t think I handle the notes much differently from other pianists.” He went on, “But, the pauses between the notes — that’s where the artistry lies!”
Most music critics agree that as great pianists grow older, they tend to play somewhat slower. Not because they can’t play with the same technical brilliance, but the depth of the music lies in the spaces between the notes.
God designed life to be lived with divine pauses and spaces between the busy notes of life on planet earth. Six days were for work, but the seventh day was to be a divine pause and sacred space. Not just for rest so we could put in another six days of work — but a sacred pause between the notes of our lives — when the Master Artist could touch our hearts and speak to our spirits.
God commanded His people to observe feasts and festivals throughout each year not only to commemorate great events but to give us sacred pauses when the busy routines of life are traded for times of reflection and celebrations.
A simple yet vital discipline for all followers of Jesus is often called keeping a “Daily Quiet Time” when each day, we take a moment — a sacred pause — to spend time with God and His Word.
These ordained spaces are more than pauses. They are divine appointments with God that we need to keep to stay centered in the real meaning and purpose of life.
The psalmist declares “Be still and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10)
You have to admit it’s hard to “be still” in the month and weeks preceding Dec. 25! We are moving at high speed — a frenzied pace of decorating, shopping, wrapping, mailing, cooking, and traveling! And all of that is added on to an already “warp speed” life!
In the midst of our hurrying, we forget that the abundant, victorious and fulfilled life comes from the divine spaces and sacred pauses between the busy notes — when we spend time alone with our loved ones, our family and church family — and especially with God.
Advent was designed and observed by the early Church to give God’s people those reflective divine appointments to “be still and know God.” The weeks between the four Sundays of Advent remind us first — to ponder anew the incredible gift God gave the world when He left all the splendor and glory of heaven to be born in a stable and then died on a cross so we can be forgiven and restored in relationship with God.
Secondly, Advent also calls us to look into the future with hope and anticipation, because this very same Jesus is coming again to our world, not as a humble infant who would die for our sins, but as the King of all kings and Lord of all lords!
And when He comes, He will judge the Nations with truth and righteousness. Evil will be vanquished, death shall be no more, and there will be no more tears or pain or sorrow — and God’s love will reign supreme. And we shall be like Him, surrounded by our loved ones who died in the faith, along with the great Church Triumphant — and we will live with Jesus Christ forever! Now that’s something to look forward to!
Take time this Advent to build spaces between your busy notes and embrace the Savior born to us — and coming again!