Christmas Calm

 

Christmas CalmIt’s the early hours of the morning on the day after Christmas. My son and I have been admiring his stack of new books and tinkering with little treasures while the tree twinkles away in the corner. He colors in his new art journal while I take a few minutes to type.

We’ve been going, going, going far too much this semester- at least far too much for a family with three young kids. We’ve had barely an evening a week with all of us home at the same time with no place to go. I know of many families who do this regularly and seem to handle it well, but to me, it’s more stress than it’s worth.

This Christmas was such a welcome contrast to all that running around. Granted, it was still busy- we didn’t have much time to prepare “real” presents for anyone, much less to make the Christmas music we generally prepare and play. But for some reason, it didn’t really matter. I resigned myself to low-key gifts for our families, and decided that if we didn’t have time for all our regular traditions it would still be just fine.

Learning to find peace and rest amidst chaos- it's not an easy lesson for me!

(J enjoying a viewfinder.)

We came to a screeching halt from all of our bustling yesterday. It’s hard to slow down suddenly after feeling so rushed and scattered, but it was much needed. Christmas day ended up being one of the calmest days we’ve had in a long time.

The best part was the morning. The kids didn’t get up until after 7 a.m., and they were content to sit and eat breakfast in the kitchen for a while. We lit a snowman-shaped candle and hummed carols along to my husband’s ukulele plucking, then moved into the playroom to stick characters on our advent wall hanging and read the Christmas story together. The children played together without fighting. (A Christmas miracle!) We finally had to suggest that we open our presents before visiting with grandparents.

Playing dress up on an unusually calm Christmas.

(V modeling her “new” dress-up clothes.)

Such harmony is a rarity around here- the kids must have known subconsciously that staying settled for more than 10 minutes was a great Christmas gift! While none of us were perfect and the day wasn’t without its cranky moments, it did carry that sense of rest that I’ve been longing for.

There’s a beauty of finding calm amidst chaos- it’s not something I typically do very well. In fact, I’m easily frustrated, cranky, and not always nice when I’m facing a stressful situation. But apparently it’s a lesson I’m supposed to keep learning. For example, in the middle of writing this post, I got annoyed and had to take a break because one of my children-who shall not be named-wouldn’t stop jabbering and let me think clearly.

Oh yes, peace and rest, peace and rest.

Learning to find peace, even in stressful, chaotic times.

(Baby I keeps us smiling.)

It’s something I have to keep reminding myself of. Peace isn’t found merely by avoiding problems. In fact, that quietness of heart and mind is quite a separate thing from our circumstances.

After hearing so much of Handel’s Messiah this week, I can’t help thinking of the text from which “His yoke is easy” is taken:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Mt. 11: 28-30)

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