At the beginning of December, I pulled out the girls’ Christmas books, my Christmas CDs, our Nativity sets, and a few other decorations. Anticipating some new music, I popped Michael W. Smith into the CD player in the truck as we headed into town.
After the first joyous burst of music, however, I found my thoughts wandering. I went over the errands I needed to run once I dropped Lily off at preschool, what I should pack and what I should leave for the moving company to pack, the blog post I needed to write…
As another crescendo of music pulled me back to the present moment, I shook my head. I’d tuned out the music with all my other worries and busyness. And I found myself wondering how much I do that with the entire holiday season.
Christmas is a time of conundrums. There are great holiday classics like It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol that remind us to appreciate the small moments and the people around us. Then there are the office Christmas parties, the gifts to buy, the goodies to bake, and the entire family to see in one short day before we box it all up again and start on the new year.
Scrooge was too busy with his money to honor Christmas; now it seems we are too busy with Christmas to honor Christmas.
And while that night in Bethlehem might have been a silent night, Christmas is now a noisy time. There are bells ringing to remind us to give to the needy. There are carols playing on loudspeakers in the stores we visit and children clamoring for their favourite toys and everyone talking at once over Christmas dinner. There are babies crying in church when we are trying to hear the music or the readings.
As we start the third week of Advent, I want to listen. I want to declutter my thoughts to focus on what God is saying to me during this time.
I want to listen to the music and let it speak to me again about the wonder of what happened two thousand years ago in a stable in Bethlehem.
I want to listen to the readings at Mass. I want to hear the old stories with new ears.
And I want to celebrate Advent with my family, to take the time to sit down with them in the rush of the holidays and appreciate the moments that I do have to spend with them, even though those moments feel short in the span of a year.
What is your favourite Christmas song or story? How do you listen during this busy, noisy season?
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