/> Raising Angels: O Come Let Us Adore Him in the Midst of All the Noise

Monday, December 18, 2006

O Come Let Us Adore Him in the Midst of All the Noise

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.


Blogger Michelle said...

Amy, you have one child who is school aged. What will you do when you have three involved in sports, parties, and singing on TV? I totally believe that motherhood is a sacrifice, but at the same time, there has to be a time for the batteries to recharge. Seriously consider how much you take on. Once your daughter is involved in things, she will have a difficult time stopping them. But then the boys will want to have the same level of involvement.

And 160 Christmas cards? Sweetheart, the only time I sent out that many was when my husband was a commander of a troop of 100 soldiers. Years ago, I scaled ruthlessly back and stopped sending to relatives and friends who don't send back or to casual friends or even to local friends (if you saw my kids yesterday, you aren't getting a photo since you know what my kids look like).

I don't want to tell you how to live your life or what your priorities should be, but I am a high-energy, driven and ambitious type who knows how overwhelming it all can be. I have a maid clean my house once a week, I say NO a lot, and I limit my kids involvement in things. I want the BEST for them - all the advantages. But I choose to have more than one or two kids. In LOVE, they will be very blessed. But traveling baseball teams? Not unless I can arrange a carpool. Thank goodness the piano teacher comes to the house.

OK, lecture over. Sorry.

6:55 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I just wrote a long lecturing post, but Blogger seems to be eating comments this morning. It was the stern, older sister wag-the-finger-in-the nose kind. You need to lighten up the workload.

6:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that was a truthful and beautiful commentary on the Christmas season. Life is busy. Life is beautiful. Husbands need to learn how to pick up Applebees Carside. Children are wonderful. And God is in every moment. Plus, sometimes, we just have to vent : )

8:03 PM  
Blogger Amy Parris said...

Michelle, I'm sorry if I complained too much. I did need to vent. And bottom line this blog is for me and at times I need to remind myself how ridiculous and petty my worries are. The point of this entry though was not to complain so much as to make the point that I can choose to be peaceful in the midst of business.

I do agree that one way to find that peace is to avoid all the activities. However, I have chosen some activities that I feel are important and I am trying to be peaceful in the middle of it all.

I know I have a weaknesses for overcomitting. I come by it very naturally. I am working on it. But that does not involve cutting out every activity.

As far as kids and activities, you're right. I do not look forward to the time when all three have games, practices, recitals, etc. On the other hand, I feel like my kids are already reaping the benefits of their activities. They are well-rounded, generally well-behaved kids with great personalities.

The TV show is not a regular thing. I think of it as more of a reward for all of her hard work on the song. Just for the record though, when she picked up gymnastics, I told her she had to drop ballet. But at this age I think it's important to have as much exposure as possible to every kind of activity to find out what their talents and interests are.

The 160 cards, well, I try every year to whittle down the list. Honestly, though, everyone on the list is a good friend or family member. We don't send to every coworker and acquaitance. We just have a lot of friends. And I just can't let myself stop sending to people I love just because they don't send to me. That's not the point. The point is that it's the one time of year I make an effort to reach out in this way to the people I love.

Christmas is busy no matter your level of activity. What's important is how we choose to handle all of it.

10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amy, I love you and your blog! I read it daily! You have an inpriring, encouraging, realistic comentary on what it is like to be rasing 3 beautiful angels. You know what it means to die to yourself and what it takes to be a holy mother. I personally think that Michelle was too hard on you and could take more of an example from you. Thank you for pushing me to become the best verzion of myself. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

3:58 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Amy, I'm sorry if I came across as being too hard. {I tried to come back here yesterday, but again, Blogger was giving me problems.} I just about killed myself doing a Mommy and Me gymnastics class with my daughter Katie (while the boys hung out in the open waiting area and toddler-Jenny ran circles in the gym area). It was at that point that I had to come to grips with what I could and could not do. No Mommy and Me classes if I have a younger child, find activities geared toward mixed ages (or at least have things for other ages at the same time), find friends with kids in the same activities and take turns with driving (while the other one babysits siblings), etc. Juggling outside commitments is one of my biggest headaches, and it is one thing that only gets harder the more kids you have and the older they get.

As for Christmas cards - that's just one thing I harped on. I bake 50 mini-loaves of pumpkin bread to hand out, so who am I to talk?

I'm not trying to keep you from venting your frustration...I just personally could not function pleasantly if I went to bed at 1 am for over a week. My husband's favorite line to someone's query about how his wife does it all is, "I don't know, but I sure can't find any socks to wear!" And clean socks, boring as that is, is a priority to 50 loaves of pumpkin bread...or Christmas cards. And doing everything with joy is a priority too.

Signing off, the big meany in Virginia.

6:42 AM  

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