Silent Night, Holy Night
All is Calm, all is Bright
Round young Virgin, Mother and Child
Holy Infant so Tender and Mild
Sleep in Heavenly Peace
Sleep in Heavenly Peace
If you really take time to hear the words of that beautiful Christmas song, they will remind you of what this season is all about. How easy it is to get lost this time of year in all the hustle and bustle. All the "have to's", "shoulds" and "to do's". The shopping, spending, going, going, it becomes so easy to get distracted. I'm so guilty. I admit that I have to be deliberate to remind myself what really matters. What this celebration is all about.
A few years back, when my children were younger, I started to really hate Christmas. It started to feel like a competition. We spent money we didn't have, I had a huge list of gifts to buy, too many events to go to, a mile long list of Christmas cards to write and send, a host of goodies I wanted to bake, presents galore to wrap, and wrap beautifully might I add. It was just too much for me. Finally one year I had a meltdown. I just couldn't keep up and I sat by myself in front of my beautifully lit Christmas tree and cried. "I hate this season" I could hear myself say and realized how crazy that statement was. I'm a woman of faith. I love the Lord. He's my savior and Christmas is His birth. I can't hate this season. It was then that I realized Satan was loving this. He created the Christmas crazies to distract us so that we aren't able to celebrate our Savior's birth. It was then that I prayed God would help me see how I could make it about Him and not be caught up in the craziness. I told Him I didn't want to hate Christmas anymore but I wanted to celebrate it with joy.
After pray and meditation He made me realize that all I really needed to do was make it a "Silent Night". That song was playing one day and it dawned on me...Silent Night. Those simple words was what I was searching for. That's what this is supposed to be about...that silent night so long ago. The words to that song blessed me to my toes. That was it...the story of a very scared young couple being told by an angel that they were going to be the earthly parents to God's only son. That God needed to create a way for us to have a savior. He needed His only son to come here to earth to be born to die as a sacrifice for me and for you. To make a way for us to Heaven.
I just wanted to give you permission to make your Christmas a Silent Night as well. I have a few ideas to help...
First, pray that you will have the right perspective. Have an honest heart to heart with God. If you struggle like I did, be honest, tell Him how you feel. Remember He knows what you're thinking anyway ;)
Second, Learn to Say NO! Why does it take us so long to learn that word? Don't take everything on. Say no to some invitations. Just keep your calendar manageable. Prioritize what is really the most important.
Third, Not everything has to be Perfect! You know that sounds so simple, but is it really? Don't compete. If your best friend's thing is a perfectly decorated, different theme oriented, color coordinated tree every year is her thing. Let her do it. You do your thing. Remember, she's probably stressing over that gorgeous tree ;)
Fourth, Take shortcuts. You want so badly to make every beautiful Christmas cookie recipe in the new Martha Stewart December issue, but if time just won't allow...three words, Slice and Bake! Buy some canned frosting and coloring and decorate with sprinkles. The kids will have just as much fun! Another shortcut, gift bags! Beautifully wrapped gifts can be over rated!
Fifth, Take the Time to Enjoy! This post pretty much covers this idea. But I few ideas on what you can do...Sit in front of your tree at night and just enjoy the lights. Put on some Christmas music, light a candle or two and enjoy some egg nog. Watch fun family Christmas movies and pop some popcorn. Jump in the car with some quilts and a thermos of hot cocoa and look at the neighborhood Christmas decorations. Read about the first Christmas. The book of Luke in the Bible is the Christmas story. Read it and realize the true meaning behind it all.
That night was silent. He was born in a hushed, cold, moonlit barn. There was Mary and Joseph and their newborn son. I imagine Mary wrapped her baby boy in some pieces of their clothing and held him tightly. The three of them in a very quiet place. Shepherds heard the news as they sat quietly watching their flock. The Bible tells us there were angels to let those Shepherds know of the good news. But in that place where Jesus laid there were no fireworks, no lit Christmas trees, no songs blarring, no gift exchanges, no cookies, no cards. Just a sweet young couple and their baby boy who just happened to be the Great I Am!
Let's remember that this is the way Christmas was intended to be...Silent. I believe it was intended to be a time to celebrate, yes. But it was never intended to be a time to be stressed, over-extended or competitive. Those are all Satan's lies and he loves it when it gets to us. Let's reflect on how God sent His son on a quiet night and we should celebrate quietly. Gifts and cards and a Christmas ham, yes. But let's be deliberate in creating quiet and silence along the way to reflect on the gift our great Father in Heaven intended on that Silent night so long ago.