I am pretty sure stillness is not one of the gifts I received at birth.

I was a restless child, allergic to milk as it turned out, constantly moving and squirming and making noise.  As I grew, I was often running and jumping and dancing around.  My brother called me squirmy wormy the summer I had a little red tank bathing suit that I wore to play in the sprinkler.

But I could be still. I liked to be around animals, and I learned quickly that one has to be quiet and still to avoid frightening them into running or flying away.  I wanted to pet or hold every animal I saw (including frogs and little green snakes, not to mention our big horses and the barn kitties and hunting dogs) and so I learned to be still.

And I could be very still for hours on end while absorbed in a book. I could sit as quietly as a mouse and as still as a statue (to use the standard cliches) and be transported into another world through the words on pages.

Now it is time to try to be still again. To be still long enough for my shoulders to unhunch and my breathing to slow down and my prayers to become floating images behind my eyes. To be still long enough to re-awaken my sense of wonder and awe at the thought of God coming to be among us. To be still long enough to reignite my passion for peace and my hopes for justice. To be still long enough to hear the angels whisper, "Fear not," and to open my heart to love.