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Serenity Amidst the Festive Chaos

Christmas brings its own form of chaos. Joy is abundant but it often overshadows something much more meaningful--peace.



“All the noise, noise, noise…” starts a famous line in a beloved Christmas movie classic. Most of us breeze past this line, as others are so much more famous, but this one…this one resonates for so many of us.


Don’t take that line in the literal sense but think of it in terms of all the goings on this time of year. Christmas magic doesn’t just happen, it is a highly choregraphed and timed production that begins well before the month of December.


Skeptical?


Family pictures have to be taken; Christmas cards ordered or bought, filled out, addressed, a trip to the post office to buy holiday stamps, then stamped and mailed; decorations must be unpacked and hung up; light strings that no longer work thrown out and another trip to the store to buy replacements; gathering Christmas lists and names of people to buy for; shopping online and in-person; tracking all the deliveries that are always divided into multiple shipments per order; waiting in check-out lines a mile long as only two cashiers are open; wrapping, wrapping, and more wrapping; did I mention wrapping; attempting to ship presents and waiting in a line that goes slower than a sloth’s pace; volunteering; coordinating get togethers; if you have school age children—managing all the school festivities and being voluntold to bring or do something; if you are religious, ensuring everyone has an appropriate outfit for holiday services; if you are involved in church, also being voluntold to do or bring something; work parties; making travel arrangements and plans; hosting family and friends in your house; planning the Christmas dinners and desserts and buying all the ingredients; baking treats to give out before the holidays; staying up late in order to put out the Santa gifts; spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day baking and cooking; cleaning the dishes; and of course, when it is time, taking down the decorations.


I likely missed a few items in that list.


All of this happens while we also work a full-time job and maybe a few others and keep the day-to-day activities running at the same time.


It is a lot to keep the magic of Christmas going.


But we do it because we remember. We remember what it was like to have that indescribable joy. And above all, we want it to continue into the next generation.


Christmas is made up of equal parts joy and peace. But peace hides in the shadows of the exuberant joy adorning every occasion and event. With all the noise, noise, noise—it’s no wonder.


I typically find my peace in two specific moments. When my kids were younger and had been tucked into bed, and all Santa’s gifts were displayed, the world went quiet. I could sit in the darkened family room lit only by the light of a Christmas tree, and finally breathe. There were no more comings and goings, only silence, beauty, and peace.


Now that my kids are older and are not biting at the bit to open presents early in the morning, I can wake up, have a cup of coffee, and sit in the family room before it becomes a mess of wrapping paper and bows. Good coffee and greater peace.


There are other moments that bring peace, but these two moments are the ones I savor.


But here’s the thing.


You do not have to do everything on the to-do list. You do not have to keep up with what was done last year, or what someone else is doing. If you want to buy dinner instead of cooking, or pare down the decorating, or not send Christmas cards, or do whatever it is that allows you to find your joy and your peace—DO IT. Being completely honest, after giving birth to Jesus, do you think Mary wanted to hit the town? Or do you think she just wanted to rest—peacefully?


If you didn’t ever stop to realize the production that goes on for your benefit as well as others, now you know. If you are able to just show up on Christmas Day and watch presents being opened, or sit at the table to eat dinner, you are in a very privileged situation. Let that superhuman person, who delivers the Christmas experience each and every year, know not only how much you realize they do—but go a step further and actively assist them. Seriously, take something off their plate. The dishes are an excellent start.


And now to you, the bringers of Christmas cheer, the deliverers of magic, the ones who put others before themselves.


I wish you a heart full of joy that delights in the small, everyday things. I wish you a home full of love. And above all, I wish you that which comes from a darkened room lit only by the light of a Christmas tree.


Silence, beauty, and peace.


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