We finally decorated the house on Monday. It's been on my calendar for weeks, this one empty, work-free day squished in between a lot of events and happenings. We've been so busy these last couple of months, and I'm only slightly ashamed to say our "trick or treat" banner was still hanging when the Christmas tree went up. But that's life, and now we get to enjoy the tree and the twinkle lights until at least January 1, probably longer.
This is one of my favorite times of year, and it always goes by so quickly. We've got lots of Christmas plans -- the live nativity, a couple of office parties, advent services -- but I don't want all of the plans to get in the way of being still. The "All Is Calm, All Is Bright" hanging in our kitchen window isn't just some Pinterest-inspired idea. It's a reminder to our family to find calm in the chaos, to make time for the peace the Savior promised.
Jordan's been teaching this class at our church on Sunday mornings all about the Meyers-Briggs personality test, and while I could go on and on about the class content and what it's teaching me about relationships, it's this idea about calm I keep coming back to. Each major personality type longs for different things: home and tradition, quality relationships, fun and entertainment. My overall type wants people and events to make sense, and my specific type is always longing for calm. It's a relief to me that these things I've long known about myself all of a sudden can be given a label, and although I certainly don't want to hide behind my personality type, it's nice to know my longing for peace and quiet and solitude comes from somewhere.
I think, too, my desire for peace this season springs from the highs and lows of last year, when my grandmother fell and went to the hospital, and life changed for my family. It was a unique Christmas, and although the memory of her still hurts and our hearts ache, it's a relief to know we don't have to repeat those moments this year. Each new month is a gift, an unknown, uncertain blessing.
Our Father's promise of peace came wrapped in a crying, screaming baby in a barn in the middle of nowhere, and the irony of that -- the beauty of that -- isn't lost on me. I'm not sure there's a better picture of chaos than a family trying to adjust to a new baby in their midst, and yet in the middle of that scene, we're guaranteed peace, stillness, even if there are days it's only found in His face.
I've written this post in a sea of chaos. The bookstore I help run is housed in the same space as a cupcake shop, so there are plates clanging and dishes being washed and orders being taken. It is unbelievably loud sometimes, for a bookshop, and it's a wonder I've managed to eek out any words at all. But I sat down determined to pound something of worth out on the page, and I guess that's what finding peace and calm and quiet is really about. It's promised to us, yes, but it's also something we have to seek. It's something we're called to create.
We are heirs to the Prince of Peace, and that means what follows in our wake isn't chaos or discord. It's stillness and calm. We are others' shelter in this storm. We are the barn that housed the Christ, the shh-shing shepherds whispering words of comfort to the baby. We are peace because He is peace.
That's the promise I'm trying to live out this season.