December first, the Christmas season officially in stride. As if we didn't know that already.
Last week I mentioned my theme word for this season is AWAKE.
To not coast through the next few weeks, unmindful, unaware. I want to open my eyes. To see, what?
The beauty and peace of these days, as opposed to the overload of clutter and chaos.
Our son picked out a book at the library, Listen to the Silent Night, by Dandi Daley Mackall. A book that messed with my thinking about the classic image of the silent night. All the not-so-silent noises of that evening: the jostling crowds, the donkey plodding, Mary breathing heavy, restless, the sheep rustling in the grass, the soldiers barking commands, sandals flip-flopping across the dusty roads, Joseph asking for a place, the innkeeper speaking, "No," the cows and chickens bedding down in the straw, Mary struggling with the birth, the newborn Baby alive, catching His first breath, full of life, angels with their message to the shepherds, the shepherds running, shouting the news.
There is a lot of awake that night.
A night, a season to pay attention.
A season to listen.
A season to see spectacular sights.
A season to sing.
A season to laugh with joy.
A season to be grateful, so very grateful.
A season to be awake, watching.
Houses glowing, inviting, displaying light, welcoming, are one of my favorite Christmas decorations. Houses saying, "Life is here." Friendly. Happy. Bright. Like the old tradition of keeping a lighted candle in the window to welcome family arriving home, to direct their path through the dark night, Christmas lights are a way to say, "Welcome, come in, we greet the season, and you, too."
I want to be awake, to not miss the now. How will I do that?
By stopping what I am doing when our son asks me to read him a book (just did that, in case you are wondering).
By baking cookies with the guys.
By putting up our decorations (doing that this weekend).
By playing Christmas music, all day long, and singing along (sorry, guys, maybe I'll stick to humming).
By opening my eyes to find the joy around me, especially in the littlest things.
By simmering cinnamon and cloves and oranges and apple peels.
By going outside in the dark, in the cold, to gaze at the stars.
By connecting with others - family, friends, neighbors.
By displaying the Jesse Tree ornaments each day.
By dipping into the calm assurance of the Gift given to us, the Lord Jesus.
By being AWAKE.
And, in all the busy-ness and the doing and the bustling of Christmas, to take the time to look, to see, to enjoy the depth of the season. Like a deep pool of clear water, I can keep it stirred and murky with all the activity and must-be-dones. Or, I can allow the mud and murk to settle, allow the calm and peace to prevail, revealing the crystal clear beauty and peace of the true message. Awake to the gift of life.