It all started in November. I knew it would be busy. That particular month always is in my line of work. What I didn’t expect was the intensity. One week, I completed a review of applications. That Sunday, I flew to Oregon for a conference. Five days after returning, Steve and I headed to see Garth Brooks. All the while, we had to finish refurbishing our fireplace, something that had taken much longer than we anticipated. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, I craved the feelings of excitement and anticipation of celebrating Christ’s birth and the holiday.
They didn’t come.
Preparations for a large meeting at work plus the unfortunate timing of our hot water heater dying had added to an already hectic season and hosed any feelings of excitement and peace.
Then came Sunday. The second Sunday of December is always special at our church. That night is the Christmas concert. This year didn’t disappoint. We listened to our children’s choirs, then other songs by members of the church. This year, we broke tradition. Rather than have all choir past and present members sing “Go Tell It On a Mountain,” the director had the choir line up along the walls and sing in Latin (I think) something like “We wish you peace” or something like that. As the words swirled around me, I gazed at the stained glass of a cross and a dove that rose from floor to ceiling at the back of the stage. The words permeated my soul, and I finally closed my eyes and let the peace the offered sink into my soul and still my mind.
Maybe you’re in that position this season. You have certain rituals that officially usher in the season. Sometimes, your life might be so hectic those traditions do nothing soothe your soul to give you that peace you so badly need. After all, Christmas should mean peace on earth, good will to men, right?
You’ll get there. Take a deep breath. Slow down. Sink into it. This is the time when rituals and traditions can serve as touchstones and help you to slow down. If you don’t, you might miss the real reason for the season.
That night, the course of the world radically altered thanks to the birth of a baby boy. Jesus didn’t come dressed in ostentatious garb riding on a huge horse with a bunch of dancers, smoke, and light. He doesn’t clamor for our attention today. He waits quietly as we run around in the search for the perfect gift, celebrate with friends at parties, or add the last few decorations to the house. Only when we quiet our minds, hearts, and bodies do we see that baby boy. Then peace can come.
I wish the best to you this Christmas season. May God bless you, and may you see the simple beauty of the way that the birth of a baby boy changed the course of the world.
Question: What rituals do you have that help you realize the Christmas season has arrived?
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