Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Guest Post: Brooke from Mercy River, "Reclaiming a Silent Night"

My friend Whitney is part of Mercy River and this is their blog.
http://www.mercyrivermusic.com/about/
Brooke posted this earlier this month and I just loved it.  I, too, have struggled with loving Christmas as I should and not getting caught up in the busyness of it all.

If you’re a mom, chances are good you don’t see a lot of “silent nights” during the holidays.
After all, YOU are the one responsible for creating most of the magic. There are parties, dinners, concerts, presents, food, neighbor gifts, Christmas cards…not to mention the normal demands of sports, recitals, homework, sick kids, and laundry. You’re up later than usual to get it all done, when what you really want to do is eat fudge, watch the Hallmark channel, and feel jolly.
But, can I be super honest? Some years all I feel is numb. 
Numb from the busyness. And sad – even a little guilty – that I don’t really “feel” Christmas (other than feeling “rage” because my Amazon Prime package took 3 days to arrive, or feeling “panicked” because I can’t find the Lego set I strategically hid 5 weeks ago).
We’re so worried about everyone else around us soaking in the spirit of Christ - but what about US? Do we let Christmas “act upon” us and miss an important connection? Do we just expect that Christmas will bring the feelings we long for? Just like every other part of the holidays, these moments (often) need to be CREATED. Because of a busy December schedule, we need to intentionally act and create space for ourselves to have worshipful, reflective moments. 
As a semi-expert of Christmas cray cray, I’d like to share a personal suggestion for reclaiming your connection to Christ- your inner peace- during the holiday season. Your own “silent night,” if you will.
The magic of Christmas is often tied to traditions, which include our family or friends. Which ALSO includes running to the store, organizing schedules, baking extra treats, and coordinating chaos. Oftentimes traditions- although joyful and/or necessary- are draining for the one orchestrating it all (raise your hand *here*).
But what if you create a tradition just for YOU? Something that fills your bucket. Something that doesn’t include other schedules or uncooperative kids. There are no parties, no extra baking, no surfing Pinterest for ideas. This tradition is just yours. Something that you know will bring you peace and help you reflect when you need it most.
I discovered the power of a personal tradition a few years ago, during a particularly busy Christmas season. It was two days before Christmas and I realized I hadn’t really felt at peace that entire month. So that night I sent everyone to bed (including my husband) and I grabbed my favorite Christmas book and a hot chocolate, and I curled up by my tree and read. That night became so special to me, completely changing the way I felt that season. I decided to repeat it each year. No matter how busy or chaotic the holidays get, I know I’ll get my time. Come Christmas Eve-Eve, I know I’ll have MY MOMENT to ponder, feel, reflect, and cry by the tree. It’s one of my favorite parts about Christmas. My own tradition.
During the chaos of the season, I look forward to that peaceful, private time. I know it’s coming, and that helps fuel me through the month.
Your personal tradition might look different than mine. You might gather special Christmas songs, stick them on a playlist, and go for a bundled walk. You might jump in the car and take a solitary drive as you listen to the Christmas story or a devotional. Maybe there’s a certain movie, or book that you know will bring the spirit. This is just about you and Jesus. Find what brings you peace, and stick with that tradition each year.
Creating a personal “come to Jesus” tradition for yourself will GREATLY enhance the peace of your Christmas season. We could all use less chaos and more inner stillness as we run around like frantic elves. Try to intentionally create space for few more reflective, quiet moments. Even if your “silent nights” are few and far between.
(As a tribute to mothers who often don’t see many (but desperately need more) silent nights, we created this music video. Moms, in the words of Elder Holland, “You are doing better than you think you are!” Enjoy! xo)

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