Silent Night

Everyone knows the first verse from “Silent Night” which is  lovely, but have you stopped to listen and ponder the second and third verses?

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Savior is born
Christ, the Savior is born

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

The idea of this reverent silence reminds me of a quote from my all time favorite author, C.S. Lewis. This is from a passage in his book The Screwtape Letters:

“[The demon Screwtape writes:] Music and silence–how I detest both! How thankful we should be that ever since our Father entered Hell–though Cover of "The Screwtape Letters"longer ago than humans, reckoning in light years, could express–no square inch of infernal space and no moment of infernal time has been surrendered to either of those abominable forces, but all has been occupied by Noise–Noise, the grand dynamism, the audible expression of all that is exultant, ruthless, and virile–Noise which alone defends us from silly qualms, despairing scruples, and impossible desires. We will make the whole universe a noise in the end. We have already made great strides in this direction as regards the Earth. The melodies and silences of Heaven will be shouted down in the end. But I admit we are not yet loud enough, or anything like it.”

In this past year our house has been anything but quiet. We now have a 21 month old and a 6 month old. Our daughters love each other tremendously and although they are young, I know they will be great friends…and our house will only get louder with the squeals of playful sisters. Life is full and life is good. We have been so blessed, but I need to remember the importance of silence. God speaks to us in the still, quiet moments, and he restores our soul in the absence of Noise.

So, for this Christmas Season (and into the next year and beyond) I encourage all of you to discover what is making the most Noise in your life (electronics, activities, work, everyday distractions?) and mindfully make a little more quiet time. Take a break from some of the holiday busyness a let Jesus’ light and love fill in the silence.

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I Don’t Believe in Santa Claus, So Shoot Me.

Prompted from a friend’s post, I am also blogging about the ever approach Christmas holiday and the big, jolly fat man: Santa.

I don’t believe in Santa, so shoot me. Obviously, since I am an adult, I know I am not expected to believe in Santa, but I feel the weight of society hanging around my neck expecting me to perpetuate the myth of Old Saint Nick. Guess what? I’m not going to do it.

As a child I knew who Santa was, but I didn’t believe he was some magical man who came down our non-existent chimney loaded with “toys and goodies”. I never felt deprived in any way. All of my presents had a name associated with them. This one was from Aunt so-and-so, here’s one from Uncle Billy bob, these are from mommy and daddy. And I received them with joy and gratitude. I said “thank you” to the gift giver and even wrote out thank you notes.  (or drew pictures when I was younger). I still watched all the favorite holiday cartoons. My favorite was “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer”. But, it was just a nice story. I didn’t need it to be true.

So, why am I writing out this long vent about not “believing”. I am just getting DARN tired of always having to explain and justify myself. I am tired of being frowned upon for my kids not growing up in a “santa” home. Why is it such a big deal?

If you want to believe or have your kids believe, go ahead. I don’t care. Celebrate Santa all you want, but don’t try to guilt me into following your commercialized tradition. It’s not like I am all “anti-santa” and I am not going to go up to your kid and say, “Guess what? Santa isn’t REAL!” I don’t care if I use a santa napkin at Christmas dinner, or if I get pictures of santa on my Christmas cards.

But for our house, we will not be writing letters to the North Pole, and we will not pose for pictures with a guy dressed up in a red suit at the mall. I’m sure we will still sing all the favorite Christmas carols, and we’ll probably decorate reindeer shaped christmas cookies. But please, do me a favor, and stop trying to make my kid believe Santa Claus is really watching whether they’ve “been naughty or nice”.

I love Christmas. It is my favorite holiday by far. And my kids will know Saint Nick, you know the real “santa”, the generous historical figure, but he or the magical version is not the center of our holiday. If that makes me a Scrooge, than “bah hum bug” to you!