I don’t sleep much in November and December.
There’s so much to do after all…there’s decorating, shopping for presents, wrapping presents, baking, planning get togethers, going to get-togethers, movie nights, dinner dates…you know what I mean, right?
So much merry making to be done and all with a soundtrack of Christmas music playing in the background. The music stops only when there’s a new Hallmark Christmas movie starting. So much outside stimulation – coming from so many places.
I think that’s the reason for the lack of sleep. Not enough quiet.
This morning I woke before dawn to thoughts as loud as a Monday morning commute in Grand Central Station. While stirring cream into my first cup of coffee, I started a mental to-do list…and felt overwhelmed when I realize how much I had going on today. In the den, cradling that warm mug, I looked over and saw my computer tempting me to start the process of checking off my list.
But for some reason, in a half a second’s time, I picked up my laptop and put it in the basket beside my chair.
What are you doing? You have 25 things on your list! You’ll never get done today if you don’t start now!!! My thoughts were so loud I could almost hear them audibly.I don’t know what came over me, right then…but I sat there, doing absolutely nothing. Almost in a daze. The thoughts , those loud insistent thoughts, kept on coming for 30 seconds or so.
But still, I didn’t move a muscle.
The only sound in the room was my tiniest pup Aubie’s breathing. I paused to listen. First, to her breathing. Then to the silence. That beautiful silence. Like someone who’s thirsty and dehydrated, I greedily drank in the quiet.
Before long, I noticed my heart rate slowed and my breathing was deeper. After a couple of minutes, I whispered my morning prayers and picked up the devotional that I’ve used during Advent for two years running.
“Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—
the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him…”
My heart warmed with the words.
Advent. A time to prepare my heart for the coming of Jesus.
All the merry making and pie baking…all the shopping in malls and decking the halls…at some point (for me), it’s all going to feel empty if I don’t intentionally make time to quiet the noise of the season and remember the reason for the season.
You most likely have your own ways to be intentional with your quiet time (and I’d love to hear them), but in case you need some suggestions here are some things that have worked for me…
*Waking early to pray and read scripture…this is easy for me since I’m a morning person. Just 15 minutes can make a difference in my whole day.
*Turn off the TV and have your quiet time the last 15-30 minutes of your day.
*If you have time at mid-day, go somewhere where you won’t be distracted and pause for a few minutes…right there in the middle of your day, pray. Read a chapter from Luke. Listen to music that helps you refocus.
*Drive time prayer…I do some of my best praying in the car. (I guess people think I’m on bluetooth 🙂 )
*Bath time…when my kids were younger, sometimes I would use the time when they napped to groom. Taking a 10 minute bath gave me a little time to breathe deep and talk to God.
*Bring your children into the quiet at bedtime by reading a Bible story or children’s Advent devotional. In a world full of Santa Claus, our Little’s need to be reminded that Jesus’ birth is what Christmas is all about.
I’d love to hear your ideas on keeping the quiet in Christmas…
*The Greatest Gift (the Advent devotional I prefer)
*Unwrapping the Greatest Gift (a family Advent devotional)
This is chapter 4 in my series: (find the other chapters in the link below)