Friday, December 9, 2011

Slow Down, Soak Up, Pour Out

I've often wondered what it is about Christmas that I've been missing?

It's good to try and think of a ways to make Christmas more centered around Christ... but that's the thing. I can have the best of intentions but sometimes in my attempt to alleviate one set of stresses, I simply take on a whole new set. Christmas can easily become for me a string of very well intentioned events. And what happens is, I get so wrapped up in creating Christmas that I forget that the best part of it all can really be found in the simplicity of it all.

Because really the best Christmas can be found not in what's happening around me, but in what's happening inside of me.

I can load up the calendar, but if I can't pass out kind words, then what am I doing? I can make us all doers under this farmhouse roof, but if we do simply to do, and we can't slow down enough to learn how to simply be, then what kind of gift am I really being to my five favorite folks?

So we've purposed to say say no here and there to all the activity, and yes to time with each other, yes to thinking about others above ourselves, yes to giving unto the least of these that we might be giving unto Him, and yes to peaceful kindness coming out of our mouths and out in our actions.

After all isn't it Peace Himself that came down, Peace Himself that we're trying to soak up and pour out this season. So why do I insist on jumping into the rush of it all?

While the world might be saying "hurry, go, buy, wrap, eat,eat, eat..." Maybe He's saying, "slow down, soak up, pour out peace, live the joy of my greatest gift... the joy of my one and only Son... The joy of Him come down, just for you?"

Because it really is ALL joy.

Christmas... Christ come down... where's the stress in that? He came down to a quiet town, to a quiet stable. There was absolutely no chaos at the Savior's birth. Simply peace.

Maybe, just maybe, this Christmas we can find a new rhythm around here...

Slow down, soak up, pour out...

Slow down, soak up, pour out...

And so we wake up to all that Christmas really wants to be.

My dancing girl and I, we spent the day in the kitchen together. She's really just the sweetest little thing, that girl of mine. She loves to help and she loves to please...

"What kind of cookies do you wanna make sweet girl?"

"Oh whatever ones you pick will be just fine Mom."

She stood on that stool and carefully placed each snowball on the cookie sheet as she sang all these songs that she had learned in her music class on Thursdays. Have I ever told you that this girl LOVES to sing. And most of the time she's as quiet as her Mama, but when she sings, she really belts it out. And even though there are some days when she sings terribly off key, I love the joy that fills her as she skips and sings around the farmhouse.

My Hal and I soaked each other up all afternoon.

The next day we gathered our treats and put them in with some of our treasure friend's treats from the other side of the farm, and together we ventured out and delivered a wee bit of Christ- joy to the neighbors all around.

The rules are different for us farm folks on these old dirt roads... And we all pile in and the kids have a rather loud conversation about who gets to pass out the first bag of joy and my sweet friend Tara and I look at each other and smile because our lives with these many small children is always this constant conversation of kindness and others first. And in the midst of purposeful joy, more than one little one, ends up in puddle of tears, disappointed that it was no longer their turn, or that their bag broke, or that their spot in the car was taken by another little treasure and they just can't fathom sitting anywhere else in the car.

And one of the greatest gifts that the Lord has given me is in my treasure friend Tara, because her and I can sit in the front seat of that very full car, with all the talking and singing and shouting and bickering going on in the backseat, and still look at each other and find the joy of it all, the joy in the fact that we get to do this Mom-thing together.

The kids pull themselves together and we settle on whose gonna deliver each bag of joy, and we trek down these snow covered drive-ways, some that seem to go on and on.

One neighbor whose kids are now grown, puts both her hands on her face and her eyes start to sparkle as the kids sing to her their rather unpolished version of Jingle Bells, gloriously out of tune.

And we meet up with some Spanish speaking neighbors who raise gorgeous Arabian horses and who have three little puppies. The kids play with the puppies and Tara and I do our best to brush up on our Spanish skills. Together, I think we were able to get the jest of the conversation. They were truly some of the kindest folks.

When we pulled back into the farm gates, I was so thankful for the simplicity of it all. Thankful that a day spent in the kitchen with my daughter, became bags full of joy for the neighbors. Thankful that we're always in the learning over here. Thankful that just in the day to day we're learning to love, learning to give, learning to fill up, only that we might be able to pour out more and more of HIM. :)

Slow down, soak up, pour out...
It's a rhythm that I think I just might enjoy dancing to this season. :)