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Frantic Christmas

Young Girl Is Frustrated About ChristmasThe countdown is on. Days are being crossed off the calendar and gifts crossed off the Christmas shopping list. Can you feel the rush? The push? The drive to get it all done? There are cookies to be baked . . . oh, who am I kidding . . . cookies to be bought and Christmas cards to be addressed. And yet, amid all the hustle and bustle, do you hear what I hear? Do you hear His soft whisper beckoning you to be still? To be loved by your Creator?

You know those moments, the ones when you’re finally sitting at the kids’ church Christmas play, still breathing heavily from dashing in from the parking lot because your eight-year-old shepherd had to be in place and on time with beard attached? You fumble with the camera and video recorder. (Oh wait, I’m showing my age . . . my Millenial readers have their iPhones charged and ready.) You find your thoughts racing as you go over the Christmas list again, and then your mind jumps to your company pot luck recipe ingredients that must be bought on the way home.

As the stage lights come up and the three-foot foil star covering a first grader enters and takes its place on risers directly above Mary and Joseph, you reign in your distracted, get-it-done mental pace just as  the bright light zooms in on the tiny doll being swaddled in a bath towel. Suddenly and unexpectedly, a hush falls over your heart. You feel the presence of the Almighty God, the God of the universe who sent this perfect, spotless baby to come and save the world. That is what all this hustle is really about.

Passing through the family room day after day, we grab backpacks, scramble the eggs, help get shoes tied and our heels on for work. Rushing by. Rushing by. Rushing by the beautifully lit tree we decorated weeks ago that boasts of homemade ornaments that our babies made out of pipe cleaners and way too much glitter. The days fly by with everyday tasks from tissues being shoved under small nostrils and motherly commands of “blow” to e-mail attachments of end-year reports being sent to bosses. Finally, the moon is out, the house is quiet, and we collapse on the couch and glance at the tree. The silver star on top almost speaks directly to us as we remember the reason for the star, the reason for the manger, the reason for the Savior. That is what all this fuss is about.

My question to us is this: Can we stay in this “still, small voice-hearing” position even while we make our lists and check them twice? Is there a way to bring the baby Jesus moments with us as we spread peanut butter on lunch sandwiches and organize the company gift exchange at work?

I believe we can.

I love those moments of quiet, deep peace that I feel at times during the holidays . . . the laughter of family members working on a puzzle, the smell of Christmas dinner, the crisp air filled with the ringing of a bell, reminding us of those in need. These are all moments that point to peace on earth. The Prince of Peace Himself. My prayer for us these next couple of weeks is that we welcome and allow this strong, sturdy, deeply felt peace to be the loudest, most influential voice of the season. May our toddlers sense the calmness of a parent who is cozy on the inside and experiencing the joy that Jesus came to give us.  May our coworkers find us as refreshing as the peppermint of a Christmas candy cane (too much?).

God has a gift for you, and you get to unwrap it before Christmas. He wants you to experience the deep-down joy and peace He has for you. Let us rest and enjoy this precious holiday while we are getting all of our tasks completed.

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