Silent Night

Whenever I go home to Ohio, probably one of the biggest adjustments to have to get used to, is…the quiet.

Falling asleep, there is nothing. Maybe a distant train. Maybe the ticking of a clock. But it is silent.

Especially in the winter. When there’s a blanket of snow covering the ground, the silence can be deafening.

A far cry from New York City, that’s for sure.

Ambulances, garbage collectors, cars, rowdy bar crawlers, blaring music — all things I fall asleep to. In fact, from my bed, when I put my ear to the ground, I can feel and hear the subway pass beneath every 4.5 minutes.


Needless to say, silence is a bit of an anomaly in the concrete jungle.

But not here. Not in Ohio.

And there’s something about lying here, eyes closed, listening to the stillness, that I realize just how powerful that lack of noise is.

And how I could use a lot more of it.

This past week has been a whirlwind of epic proportions. Christmas, traveling, cooking.

I’m sure you can relate.

No matter how non-commercial you try and keep Christmas, the fact is, you can’t show up to parties empty handed. Christmas cards have to be sent. And people expect a token of appreciation, even if it is non-monetary.

So that means running around like a bat outta hell trying to get things done.

But it is in the silence that I finally am able to breath. Relax. Think.

And, with literally nothing else as a distraction, my mind is able to wander. And come to the sobering realization that this is missing from my life. The quiet. The stillness. The moments of no distractions where I can think and pray and listen.

I’ve been so restless these past few months about boys and life and career, and I wonder…when was the last time I sat in silence like this? And just think?

Not even church is an avenue for contemplation anymore, with its hymns and people watching, and interaction. All well and good – but admittedly, lacking the stillness.

God speaks to us in the stillness. As a “gentle whisper.” 1 Kings 19:12. We need to “stop and consider God’s wonders.” Job 37:14.

This is not such a simple matter. Being still is not nearly as cut and dry as we may think. Because honestly, when we slow down and be still, we have to sit with ourselves. We have to come face to face with some truths. With who we are. With who we’ve become.

And that, can be scary.

But I think, it’s a necessity. For growth. For our relationship with God. And our relationship with ourselves.

Ohio may be onto something with its silence. With its ability to be quiet. And still. It provides an opportunity to reflect.


So for now, I’m going to just shut down the computer and enjoy this respite from the noise and absorb the silence. To sit with my thoughts and prayers and just be.

And think about that little Child in the manger. Because He was born on a Silent Night, just like tonight. And I bet if we listen close enough, we may even be able to hear the Heavenly Hosts sing Hallelujah.

Hope everyone had a beautiful Christmas.


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201 responses to “Silent Night”

  1. Enjoy your silence before returning to NYC. Bundle up and go outside. Let the snow cover the brown and the noise. Look up to those same stars gazed upon by shepherds, Wise Men, Jesus, Apostles and more…the small lights God made. Enjoy the quiet His snow gives you. Relish His fingerprints in the boundless space above. And if tonight nothing speaks back to you but the silence, give thanks, for that is what God knows you need. Tonight. Hugs & prayers

  2. I lived my teenage years in Upstate NY and now that I live in Atlanta celebrating Christmas without a white blanket of snow covering as far as the eyes could see didn’t bring that sense of being home. Although Christmas is not about the weather, but about the birth of my Savior. It’s interesting how a snowy Christmas makes the holidays feel so different!
    As you enjoy the serenity of Ohio remember that verse where we read… “be still and know that I am God”!

  3. My husband and I and a friend sit in silence for 30 minutes every Sunday evening. We have done this for 20 years, rarely missing a time. It is a very good start to our weeks. God is always present, of course, but given Him 30 minutes of silence often gives Him room to get a word in!

  4. Yep, I love this.

    Coming home for Christmas, and after moving back from the “big town”, what I actually noticed was…the birds. Throngs of them singing at 6 AM so loudly I could hear them easily through the closed bedroom window. That’s what I love – I’ve heard all kinds of silence throughout my life–craved silence, been driven crazy by it. But to just be still and know He is Father… to sit on a mountaintop and listen to the wind, or lay in bed listening to a thousand little choruses all singing in medley, MMMmmmmm……. He is Father, and He loves me

    • Thanks for this, Carson. Yes, the birds! I love listening to them in the summer in Ohio too. They’re so beautiful and lively. Not like the pigeons in the parks in NYC – dang, they’re as bold as the squirrels! They’ll come up and eat a bagel right out of your hand if you let them! no fear, those birds! haha but seriously though, you’re right – He does love us, and He communicates that in the silence. thanks for stopping by. hugs ox

      • Bahaha all I can think is Leif Hetland, talking about living from one spiritual ‘high’ to the next, ‘one moment you have the dove, the next moment all these pigeons come flying in, and all you’re left with is pigeon-religion!’ Okay, maybe that’s only very funny if you hear him say it…haha 😀
        Suffice it to say, I think the real value for me in silence is, that’s when I hear it. That’s when I hear all the things all around me that always were whispering, “I love you, I love you,” that I never did hear before…. and I remember that Father doesn’t speak just one language. (:

        Happy Saturday, and happy new year!

      • Haha sounds pretty hysterical! You’re right- He speaks many languages – and one is definitely in silence! My other favorite language of His is the unequivocal smack upside the head haha Happy new year Carson! Xox

  5. I live in a fairly small village, out of the way of the single main road, its so quiet and peaceful most of the time, I guess I take it for granted quite a lot maybe I need too appreciate more, something about the trains going by its kinda calming 😁. I got the sense God maybe preparing you for a move in location 💛 do you feel it also. Hope you had a great day 😁

    • Thanks Benjamin. Yeah, I love hearing a distant train too. There’s something so…literary, if you know what I mean. Like I’m the main character in a book or old fashioned movie. It’s so cool. haha, yeah, perhaps you’re right 🙂 God definitely works in mysterious ways! hugs xox

      • At least you have snow in your book 😍 we just have frost 😞 we are quite near to the train line and station so we the express trains (not polar..sadly) & freight mostly. And planes preparing to land at the nearest airport which isnt too far. We also have an old railway line you can walk down. So yeah kinda like a book\film here too. But I would happily visit your book😂 but you would have to be there z

  6. Silence is indeed terrifying. I’ve had far too many moments of silence recently and it’s too the point that it became mentally unhealthy. Only because I filled my mind with the problems of my heart rather than the God of my soul. Such a wonderful reminder. Thank you for being a constant source of encouragement. In all honesty, reading your work and getting to know you has inspired me and how I’m going to write in the future.

    Thank you.

  7. Beautiful reflection. I feel you about church. I was fond of my old church that was traditional with a basic choir that was beautiful but much less distracting than the one near me now with a full band.

    • Thank you so much! Yeah, music is such a powerful part of worship. It’s such a soul-awakening part of praise 🙂 perhaps this new church has a quieter service?? 🙂 hope you have a happy new year! hugs xox

  8. That is the main reason why I moved to small town wyoming. I love the peace and quiet. The city is a fun place to visit, but I’m always in a hurry to get home.

  9. Love this post! I fully understand what you mean about the beauty and fierceness of sitting in silence. Sometimes I sigh with relief when I finally pause and process life. Other times, I realize I’ve been hiding in the busyness, afraid of the inner person I’ll see when I stop for too long. Either way, contemplation is a necessity and a gift.

  10. Hugs! And happy New Year! You are absolutely right that finding stillness and silence is incredibly difficult – much more difficult than it seems like it *should* be. And it is in the silence that God speaks to us. Even in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city, I have confidence that you will be able to find moments of peace and stillness. Even on a crowded subway train, it is possible to take a deep breath, let it out, and think just for a second about how everyone in that packed car is connected through our Creator. I also struggle with finding time for peace and quiet. It’s so hard to just *sit* and be still. There is always another chore to do or something else that I can “just take care of really quickly” on my to-do list. Having been transplanted in the opposite direction, from the cities of the Northeast to Ohio, I can definitely appreciate the different pace of life here, but I can still find a balance when I go back to Connecticut and Boston. Sometimes I’m better at practicing mindfulness than others, but I think that’s what it really comes down to. If I can just take a single breath and be mindful, then the next breath is more mindful, and then the next, and finding stillness doesn’t seem like some enormous, overwhelming thing. Anyway, this is apparently another of my rambling comments 🙂 I’m wishing you an abundantly happy New Year and lots of moments of peace and stillness in 2017!

    • Hi Lulu!! ohh, thank you so much 🙂 what a sweet note:) I totally feel you. and yes! the silence is where we can hear His gentle whisper. Yeah, I do have a couple places in NYC where I can find respite. Especially by the water — it’s somehow less clausterphobic. The only thing is…I have to take the earbuds out of my ears 🙂 hehe Thanks for stopping by! hope you have a blessed 2017 as well! hugs xox

  11. It’s absolutely necessary to sit down with yourselves and reflect. These days, that can feel like the last thing you should be doing, but I find it’s essential to maintaining mental wellness and inner peace. It can go wrong of course. Sometimes you stumble across inner conflicts and turmoil that ruin your whole day. But we have to face these conflicts or else they seep into our entire lives.

  12. Lovely and the soul’s still pond has reflections of you waiting. So glad you get to relax far from the midding crowd. Very nice subject

  13. I can definitely relate to this post. Not because I love Ohio or not because I’ve never been in New York. Does Buffalo count? I can relate to it because I experienced noise during my exam time. When I see the noise during exam time I’m not referring to ghetto blasters or boomboxes even Walkman from 1991 I’m referring to the business of the college life. And the definite sometimes overwhelming urge to stay on task and do your homework and then sometimes your studies from a spiritual perspective get put on the burner beside your school homework. I’m very blessed these days because I am currently out of the Concrete Jungle of my apartment complex I’m going to be enjoying the second semester of my first year in radio at home in the country but I will be commuting everyday PS Akron is beautiful this time of year especially Jubilee Donuts

  14. Very beautifully said. Silence is getting harder and harder to find. I feel closest to God when I can get out in nature and soak in the serene beauty that He has created. If only I could do that more often and get away from the noise. Thanks for sharing! God bless you in the new year.

  15. Excellent post and well put! Even when life isn’t busy, it’s easy to fill it up with stuff and noise just so we don’t have face that Still Small Voice

  16. I really enjoyed your post! I feel like I need time to reflect everyday to be able to have a relationship with God. I call it my one-on-one time with God. To dig into His word and just focus on Him before I start my day. I find this to help me start my day on the right foot and to remember to be patient with others and kind to others even when they may not deserve it. I like the part where you mention that silence is not always a bad thing. We need that every now and then to bring us back to a place of calm. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and being open as well! It is cool to find others who are like minded in this way!

  17. Silence and stillness really has come to me as important this last year. The realization that true silence is not just absence of sound, and stillness is not absence of movement. And how worthwhile it is to actually silence ones mind to see and feel what’s beneath!

  18. Lovely post Caralyn – couldn’t help thinking about Jesus asleep in the boat during the storm (Matthew 8 23:27). I think this is the level of peace we all long for and that only He can provide; so that you can have it even in New York! Hope you enjoyed Christmas with your family best wishes, Andrew

  19. Yes. I am desperate for silence right now. (With a house full of kids home for the holidays and all that entails, my quiet time gets squished out… and I am feelin’ it!!!) I ache for quiet. I crave the silence and space that I need to really connect with Jesus on a deep level. Thanks for this great reminder… I’ll try hard to find a quiet corner in the next few days…. 🙂 Blessings.

    • Hey K! Thanks so much – wow ! Sounds like you had a busy Christmas! Yes-I love that connection that comes with quiet time with Jesus. 🙂 hope you can find a few minutes to get away! Hugs and love xox

  20. “Be Still” was my motto for all of 2016! Its amazing what you can hear when you are “still” in His presence or in life in general! Enjoy the quiet and have an amazing new year when it comes!

  21. You said:

    Ambulances, garbage collectors, cars, rowdy bar crawlers, blaring music — all things I fall asleep to. In fact, from my bed, when I put my ear to the ground, I can feel and hear the subway pass beneath every 4.5 minutes.

    That would be a nightmare for me. living in Meridian, Idaho (suburb of Boise), my little neighborhood is very quiet at night. Over a year ago, I attended a conference in Portland and my hotel room faced the street and yes, it was noisy. I barely slept at night. Coffee was my friend during the day. I had my big city adventures when I was young (lived in San Francisco), but now that I’m a cranky old man, I like it peaceful and still.

  22. You speak such truth! I myself live in the Mile High City, and it’s constantly noisy; there’s never a quiet moment. But then when I finally get a quiet moment with myself, I feel like I need to be doing something. I hate the silence. But, I’m going to try this, as I need to dig deep within myself to move forward and heal with God. Thank you for this post girly. 🙂

  23. “Be Still, and know that I am God” Ps 46
    Happy new year sister. I’m glad to have “met” you in this space. This quiet space 🙂

  24. Inspiring! Sometimes,only in silent night that we can hear things that our ears cannot hear and our eyes cannot see. May you be blessed more this new year! I can see not only beauty beyond bones but mostly the beauty beyond your heart…God Bless!

  25. I can never have enough quiet. I drive my husband crazy! He has to have noise. lol!

    I live in a rural part, winter is the quietest time of the year and I love it! I wait all summer for my hush hush winter, when you can hear the snowflakes fall.

    Your thoughts are so soft and beautiful. I hope you find the quiet you are looking for in Ohio.

  26. 🙂 this was so beautiful to read and gave me a sense of peace and refuge just imagining the stillness and prayer of your heart 🙂 Ohio sounds beautiful although I love New York and its noise and smells too 😉 Em

  27. Finding stillness and quiet is difficult in our always on world. We recently house sat out in the country. So quiet. Almost “there is a murdered coming to get you in the night” quiet. Fortunately, we survived.
    Your post made me think of Paul Miller’s book, “A Praying Life: Connecting With God in a Distracting World.” Have you read it?

  28. “Because honestly, when we slow down and be still, we have to sit with ourselves. We have to come face to face with some truths. With who we are. With who we’ve become.”

    ^This line got to me. So very true. Sometimes that’s what makes silence so scary.

  29. Silence is hard where every bit of your attention is demanded elsewhere. Many pay good money to learn to sit alone with themselves. So, accept that gift wherever you may find it. There are many times when I don’t when others do because I’m, fine. I don’t know a better word for it.

  30. Yeah silence is golden and freaky. I’ll probably always have to use ambient noise to fall asleep. But as you say silence is important. There’s a reason why it’s a spiritual discipline. Not speaking can have a similar effect. An interesting experience for Lent would be only speaking when absolutely necessary or when spoken to or something.

    Can you see all the stars where you are in Ohio? That’s the other thing about leaving the city: Stars. I love being able to actually see the Milky Way. Silence and stars sounds very purifying and relaxing.

    • Hey Aaron! Oh gosh, yes the stars are such an awesome part of Ohio too. Sometimes, living in the city, I forget they’re up there! Haha they definitely speak to the splendor of God! Big hugs and happy 2017!

  31. This is a beautiful reflection. Thank you for sharing this insight into that basic need: silence. I started incorporating that into worship regularly at church and find that it is a marvel how long even 2 minutes can feel but how refreshing 2 minutes of silence can be. And yes, then God can be heard much better when we are still. Love this. Thank you

  32. Reminded…in Peace.
    Reflect…in Peace.
    Strengthened…in Peace.
    A relationship…in Peace.
    Thoughts…in Peace.
    Listen…in Peace.
    Understand…in Peace.
    Speak…in Peace.
    Taught…in Peace.
    Teach…in Peace.
    Reach out…in Peace.
    Live…in Peace.
    Rest…in Peace.

    Wishing you a New Year of Peace, young Peace-Maker. ☺

  33. I’m very happy you found a place of peace, and enjoying it.
    My best wishes for you in the New Year.
    Let it bring you all good, blessings, love, and good luck.
    You are Amazing!

  34. Thanks. Very profound. Yes. Definitely God can minister to one’s soul in the silence.
    In silence, one can experience the presence of God.
    In silence, one’s questions can be answered and new questions can be raised.
    In silence, direction can be discovered.
    In silence, the balm that heals mental, emotional, and physical ailments pours forth and one can embrace the peace that passes all understanding.

  35. Silence is powerful in so many ways that it can’t be explained in just few lines. I’m glad you found it and you are making the most out of it. Happy new year!

  36. I had some of the exact same thoughts this past week, visiting family in rural Ohio. The silence was needed, but somewhat unsettling, haha. If there’s one thing I learned from my years in New York City, it was that silence can’t be an end unto itself. Sometimes in the City, I didn’t have that option (obviously). But at the same time, I had the most peace-filled moments of my life amidst the chaos of the city. If I am able to treat silence as a way to posture myself to listen to God, I’ve found that He is there… just waiting for me to finally acknowledge Him. Thanks for this post!

    • Hi Josh! Thanks for sharing this. Wow, what a cool reflection – you’re right, amidst the chaos, one can find peace and even hear God. Amen to that, He is always there! big hugs xox

  37. Glad you had a Silent Night, Vit. B! I always love silent moments, you know. I believe it is during such wherein you are closest to God. I pray that you always find that needed silence whenever you need it this 2017. Happy New Year! 🙂

  38. I ws just thinking if I could find a “quiet” place in my house for mediation it would be great.. my room is not right and the house is packed with work stuff.. i am researching it more but yes I need and desire quiet time to relax, recharge and get the mind on a positive level sometimes

  39. Nice post. I like the phrase, “we have to sit with ourselves”. Very important to sit with ourselves and realize who we have become and if that is okay. Self-examiniation is indeed a very important part of being a Christian.

  40. My husband and I went back to Ohio for Christmas as well and said the exact same thing. The quiet was startling (which sounds like an oxymoron, but I know you understand!). From the hustle and bustle of California, the quiet felt like such a needed respite. Like time was moving slower, and we finally had time to catch our breaths. I relate so well to this post. Moving into this year, I want to be more intentional about sitting in the quiet listening for God’s voice. Thank you for sharing, Caralyn. <3 Wishing you big blessings in this new year!

    • Hey Mackenzie! Thanks for this thoughtful reflection 🙂 Yes! me too…I’ll join you in the quest for more quiet time 🙂 hope your 2017 is off to a great start! massive hugs xox

  41. I live in Cleveland – not much quiet here. Plus, I have a gang of children whobare on winter break! I find that late nights and early mornings are ideal for real quiet time. I sacrifice a bit of sleep just to have space to think.

    I remember going “camping” at the cabins in Pymatuning and Salt Fork as a kid. I wish I could go back and enjoy the beauty of just being. I hope you enjoyed your visit, and are able to find quiet moments even in NYC.

  42. Thank you for sharing. This is how I felt leading up to Christmas, which saddens me as I couldn’t get myself to sit in silence, to take in the serenity of our calming natural surroundings and to just breath. I felt overwhelmed and lost to be honest.

    • Hey there, thank you for sharing this. I’m sorry that christmas was overwhelming. I definitely can relate…our “to do” lists are always super long and it’s hard to find that respite from the busyness. hope 2017 proves to be a quieter and more peaceful year 🙂 hugs xox

  43. This is a perfect post to end 2015 on. I personally identify so much! I found blasting music or having a show on in the background the last few months causing overstimulation. My mind started shutting down, fatigued by all the noise, and I realized I also need quiet. Quiet resets my mind and in a way, gives me a chance to hear God more loudly. <3

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