It hardly seems possible that in just a few days we’re going to be thinking about our New Year’s Resolutions and trying to come up with things we can actually sustain an entire year. This morning I’m thinking about my Christmas Resolution. Fifteen days? I can do this. My resolution is simple, that helps:
I resolve to stop and enjoy this season’s quiet moments, even help create a few.
A colleague and I were observing the other day that EVERYbody wants you at Christmastime. The office wants you there for it’s annual party. We agreed it’s usually a good idea to go, especially if that’s when they hand out annual bonuses. But the kids’ schools want you there for concerts and programs, the neighbors do, church wants and needs you, and so does family. Sometimes both sides of the family tree want you — how often does THAT happen?! Only at Christmas, it seems.
Quiet moments temporarily find themselves an endangered species during the frenetic Christmas season. It takes a bit of work and a good helping of resolve, but quite moments can be found, even created through this busy season.
I need quiet moments, maybe you do too, to give myself time to reflect on the wonder of God’s love reflected in the priceless gift of His only Son. Quiet moments heighten my sense of gratitude; give me pause to thank Him for the blessings God has showered on my family and me. Quiet memories let me remember, which causes me to be thankful, which in turn brings a reflective smile.
There are a couple verses in the Christmas story we read every year that reminds me how important this is.
But Mary tresured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2.19
“Pondering” is usually best-done in calm and quiet, wouldn’t you agree? After the account of their trip to Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve, and His profound words (Remember, Mary knew exactly Who her Son was) Luke uses a similar phrase.
Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. Luke 2.51
I have a few favorite calm-inducers through the Christmas season. Perhaps these will help you (they’re free, so help yourself) or spark your thinking for things you can do that are uniquely you.
- Arrive early enough at church to sit and enjoy the prelude. Listen more, talk less through the Christmas season.
- When it snows —if it snows where you are— stop and watch it a few minutes. Ponder phrases like “White as Snow”, “Each flake is unique”, “Beauty” and “Safe and Warm”.
- Look at the center of the Christmas tree and remember the other tree, the cross of Calvary, which is why Jesus came in the first place.
- Hot cocoa or hot chocolate. Have a cup WITH marshmallows, and drink it slowly enough the marshmallows have melted before you finish.
- Watch a favorite movie. We have a tradition at our house. Right after Thanksgiving we put up the tree while we watch White Christmas and sing along with the songs. It’s a great time to remember previous years, enjoy family laughter and music. We usually finish before the movie is done, so we have something warm to drink and sit down to watch the ending together. Some years it’s taken more resolve than others to slow down long enough to enjoy the moment. It’s always worth it, though. Always.
- Give yourself permission to not do everything, not accept every invitation, not feel obligated to the “whole-wide-world”. It feels that way sometimes, doesn’t it? Give yourself permission not to. Carve out a little quiet.
Christmas 2007 has lots of good reasons for me to skip the quiet and rush pell-mell-tumble-bumble through the season. But I’m not going to. I’m resolved to take select moments and turn them quiet.
It just occurred to me – this post is one of those, written over juice and coffee early on a Sunday morning while the house is still quiet. Not even the Christmas tree lights are on. As I’ve written I’ve also silently rehearsed how God is blessing my family, how much He loves, how He enjoys when His children walk close to Him, His grace and generosity. The quiet of this morning has brought those things front and center in my thinking and my to-do list is temporarily offstage.
All is calm.
There’s a dusting of fresh snow over everything this morning. I’ll have to clear the walks and drive before we go to church. But not yet. I’m going to enjoy its pristine beauty a while longer.
Quiet helps that happen for me. And that’s why I’m resolved this Christmas to make room for the quiet. It’s too valuable to let it slip away.