I'm in the midst of the crazy, busy, holiday buzz. I don't think I've gone to bed before 1 a.m. for over a week. I'm stupid, I know. I'm crazy, I know. I just can't go to bed with the check list growing every minute.
Up until last week, I had been getting prepared at a great pace. For example, the kids all had their last day of school Friday so I had my last day of shopping and, besides a few small things, I finished it. The house was decorated and even clean. I was feeling good.
My plan was to have all that kind of stuff done so that this week would be MY time with the kids. I lined up some fun Christmas crafts, a few outings, and some fun family baking projects. This, I thought would be a Christmas time to relax and enjoy my children.
Then came the house. Which, I'm not complaining about...but...the timing couldn't have been worse. When I told Nelson I needed to know when he would be home his answer went something like, "I'll be leaving an hour before work every day, getting home after dinner, and be gone all weekend." Not something any mother wants to hear this time of year.
Add to that, the fact that my back has gone into spasms twice in the last week. I haven't been able to use my washing machine in over three months. Several of my holiday gift projects turned into complete nightmares. The stationary I picked for the Christmas cards got stuck in the printer 130 out of 160 times. The 160 family pictures I ordered had to be cut by hand. And, every time I turned around someone was asking me about doing something with my kids. Any way, you get the idea.
Today, just for example, I drove Mackenzie to a friend's house 30 minutes away and then two hours later had to turn around and pick her up (almost 2 hours transit time with the kids). I spent an hour on the phone trying to find a pianist to accompany Mackenzie so she could sing "Silent Night" on a local TV Christmas show. I then spent half an hour listening to Mackenzie rehearse with her. We drove to the TV station only to find out that there was no piano. We had to reschedule for Wednesday. I got her home in time for her to change and make it to her final gymnastics class during which Nelson called to tell me he invited several people over for dinner. I was too exhausted to even make sense to him.
As I was driving the kids home thinking about the mess I had left behind after not being home all day, not to mention what I could possibly pull together for a dinner this late, and listening to the kids squealing happily in the back seat, I heard something that changed my attitude.
I had forgotten that I had put in my brother's Christmas CD. It's an all male choir that sang on several occasions for Pope John Paul II. The songs are all traditional church Christmas hymns and they are beautiful.
I'm not even sure which song it was when I realized it was playing but the thing is that I heard it. I heard it over the kids shouting out about every Christmas light and Santa they saw. I heard it over all the nagging voices in my head. I heard it over the traffic and the beeping horns. I heard it. And then, I heard God.
His voice was quiet but as clear as if He had been seated next to me. He told me that this was what the Christmas season was like in this world. There is a lot of noise surrounding the season that I have absolutely no control over. Things unplanned inevitably happen. What I can control, what is most important, is what I hear in my heart. And just like that song I was hearing in the midst of all the other distractions, it can bring me peace.
I can't tune out the world. I can't control everything around me. I can keep Jesus in my heart. I can choose to hear Him above everything else. I can be peaceful...if I let myself.
By the time I got home, I was singing "O Come Let Us Adore Him". Let me not forget this is what the season is all about.