This morning it started.
David’s phone rang at 6:00 AM. (Yeah, um… not an effective marketing technique. Sure, maybe we did want to further our education with your fine establishment, but at 6:00 in the morning I don’t want to further a thing, homeboy. Just sayin’.)
Anyway, once that happened my mind started working overtime:
It’s December 1st! You need to start the countdown today. How are you going to make Christmas memorable for your kids if you spend December 1st in Las Vegas, New Mexico, eating free nachos? I mean, where’s the Baby Jesus in the gooey cheese sauce?
The cheerleaders are competing in State this Saturday! The chants. The baskets! The signs!! The bows!!! Oh, the bows. Do they all have their bows?
I have bills to pay, the house to clean, cookies to bake, presents to buy, and Gilder to frame for it.
In the middle of this epic freakout, a beautiful face came to mind, and I was instantly calmed:
Before you think that I’ve completely lost it, let me explain. (No, let there is no time. Let me sum up.)
About a year ago I wrote a post about the Noise of Christmas. And in the post I gave myself – and all of you – a wonderful gift.
As the year went by I forgot about this, but thankfully I was reminded this morning. So I want to share it with you, again:
All the Noise, Noise, Noise, Noise (Originally posted December 23, 2013)
Today is Christmas Eve Eve. I know that it might seem silly to acknowledge the eve of Christmas Eve, but in our house we have been acknowledging eves since Christmas Eve Eve Eve Eve…Eve…Eve.
We have been doing a fun advent calendar where every day we do a Christmas activity. We’ve strung popcorn, made snowflakes, had baking days, and the kidlets even took some time to ring the bell at the Salvation Army kettle and hand out candy.
One of the most common activities, though, is family movie night. The reason should be obvious… it’s cheap (thank you, Netflix) and everyone loves it.
Do you know how many interpretations of A Christmas Carol are out there? I wonder what Charles Dickens would have done if someone told him that 170 years after he published his story, cartoon ducks would be learning the same lesson as Ebenezer Scrooge. (The other night my daughter said, “Wow, ducks sure don’t have the Christmas spirit. Donald didn’t. Daffy didn’t. What’s wrong with the ducks?”)
Another one of our favorites is The Grinch. I prefer the live action one, but this is mainly because I have a panic attack every time the cartoon Grinch gets stuck in the chimney. Seriously. My heart starts pounding and I have to look away. I know he’ll get unstuck – he always does – but still. I just can’t take it. What if this time it’s different?
My favorite line in both versions of that movie is when the Grinch is airing his grievances with Christmas and he complains about all the noise (noise, noise, noise).
If I had a complaint about Christmas, that would be mine as well.
All the noise. (Noise, noise, noise.)
Now, I’m a homeschooling mother of four, a youth pastor’s wife, and a former teacher. I am used to noise. Especially Christmas noise. I’m used to the giggles, the squeals, the drums (pa rum pum pum pum), the questions, the toys, and the sound of glass ornaments shattering on the ground.
Those aren’t the noises that bother me.
The noise (noise, noise, noise) that bothers me most is actually noise that no one else can hear. And unfortunately it isn’t just limited to Christmas time.
It’s the noise inside my head, the constant battle I have with myself.
And I know I’m not alone.
“I’m not doing enough for my kids.”
“I’m spoiling my kids.”
“We’re focusing too much on the secular aspects of Christmas.”
“There’s nothing wrong with having a little fun.”
“I should do that elf thing.”
“There’s no way I’m doing that creepy elf thing.”
“What is wrong with those moms who put so much effort into that creepy elf thing?”
“I really admire those moms who go the extra mile to give their kids incredible Christmas memories.”
“She looks really pretty today.”
“Why didn’t I wear my nice clothes? I look frumpy next to her.”
“My kids are running all around the church. I’m a terrible mother.”
“I hope someone notices I curled my daughter’s hair. At least I put some effort into getting her ready today.”
“I should bake cookies with the kids.”
“The last thing I need to eat is another cookie.”
And on, and on, and on.
Noise. Noise. Noise. Noise.
So you know what I am giving myself this Christmas? And the gift I want to give to all of you out there who are tired of the noise?
The realization that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and His works are wonderful.
The knowledge that yes, parenting is hard. Yes, life is hard. But we are not alone. Our God is with us, the Mighty Warrior who saves. And He delights in us, and He sings over us.
So enjoy the silence, and let it last beyond the Christmas season.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
See you soon.