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The whirlwind has past.

Mid the commotion came smiles and full stomachs,

and brand new lovelies

we’ll be making room for

in our kitchens, closets and dresser drawers,

on bookshelves, in the garage…

After the tree is packed and carried to the attic,

and after the New Year.

Along with the brief respite from life on fast-forward,

this afterglow of Christmas before the year’s end,

I am given the luxury of time,

a present not found under the tree.

And I love it—this portion of uninterrupted moments

stretching into hoursastronomical-clock-226897_640

for savoring home and family.

(So many of you love it, too.

I see it in your eyes, in your greetings and farewells.)

These fleeting hours of the last few days of the year

to spend curled up on the sofa with a book,

playing card games with grown-up offspring,

lingering at dinner for conversation and catching up

or making plans,

to finish signing and sealing Christmas cards

with a handwritten note (still not done, but I’m making progress),

to organize the pantry.

The festivities we modern believers have adopted

to celebrate the Christ child’s arrival to our human sphere

would fill every square on the calendar between November and January.

But choosing from the overflow is a must

if we value sanity, if we treasure peace.

So many times lately my life resembles Danielle’s in the movie, Everafter—

running home to change clothes

(and back then, they wore a lot of clothes!)

before the prince arrived;

then stepping out the front door

calm…

collected…

elegant…

serene…

as if she had nothing to do but entertain visitors.

Then the camera slips behind the door and around the corner

to reveal two harried women surrounded by remnants

of a wardrobe explosion in the stairwell!

Ever_After_at_the_door

At church before and during special services, holiday concerts, parties,

and whatever else takes place on the hilltop,

a few of us run behind the scenes—

down the hallway

behind the front of the auditorium

and the through the foyer,

in and out of audio/visual rooms

and offices,

making sure people and props are in the right places at the right times…

There’s that word again. Time.

The one commodity I never have enough of.

It’s all part of my blessed craziness!

Most recent, our first-in-a-long-time Christmas Eve service—

and we ran out of candles.

More people came than we expected,

for carols in candlelight,

for prophecies read from Scripture,

for reading The Song of the Stars to children.

In making Sundays and every Sunday special,

planning holiday services and fellowships and anniversaries,

picnics, banquets, events,

with a handful of willing workers

running to and fro,

arranging flowers desserts and music,

orchestrating presentations and printing programs…

So when Christmas arrives,

and time slows,

and friends cocoon themselves at home,

like me and mine,

emails are few, texts are fewer,

calls come only when necessary,

as moms everywhere savor the calm

in the eye of the holiday storm.

Standing in the kitchen preparing lunch

and hearing Legos being sorted

took me back to younger days when J and E were little.

Remembering and pondering the goodness of the years

in our family,

of weathering storms and emerging stronger,

burying memories (for digging up later) and sharing hugs,

grateful for time to look up in whispered praise.

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