Sunday, December 13, 2015

Thoughts for a Peaceful NOEL

Dining room decor stitched in 2005
An oft-used word during this time of year -- what does it mean?

Christmas season
Christmas carol

In French, Joyeux noel means
Merry Christmas

It is now less than two weeks till Christmas. I hope we all are finding ways to simplify whatever else remains to be done so we can be still and listen to the sounds of Christmas, especially the scripture and the music.

I am writing to myself more than to anybody else when I say these things. We can feel pressured to do more and more when in reality we may need to do less and less if we are to experience the spiritual benefits of celebrating Noel.

Many years ago, when all my children were very small and we were in some stressful circumstances, I worked very hard to cook and present the most wonderful holiday dinner for my family. By the time the food was on the table, I was absolutely done! both physically and emotionally. 

As my family was getting to the table and bibs were being tied around little necks, I grabbed my car keys and headed out the door. Allowing angry and frustrated tears to roll freely down my cheeks, I drove to a local park where I stopped the car and cried my eyes out for several minutes. 

After a time, I drove home and sheepishly let myself back into the house. My family had eaten the food and was in the process of cleaning everything up when I entered the room. The atmosphere was muted. Even the dog stayed out of my way. Peace followed, along with a horrible dose of humiliation on my part. 

It's a terrible memory. In retrospect, I would rather have dropped the turkey on the floor or forgot to buy dinner rolls than to have behaved the way I did. 

Holiday memories don't have to be perfect to be meaningful. And frankly, if everything truly is perfect, people often feel intimidated and unable to relax enough to enjoy the event. 

I look back on it now and understand what that was all about...just a very tired young wife and mother who had unrealistic expectations and was too proud to ask for help (which, I promise you, was readily available). 

There is a non-Christmas passage in the Bible that aptly applies to these last days leading up to Christmas:

As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”

The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it — it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.” Luke 10:38-42 The Message (MSG)

The plans we have can be scaled back, or perhaps even done away with. Knowing what I've learned over the years since my bad example, I wish I had prepared less food and played on the floor more with my kids.

By God's mercies, my family is still intact and we are wiser for the experience. 

Joyeux Noel.


  1. You are so right that we can't let the stress get to us. No one is perfect, for goodness sakes. Thanks for sharing your lesson with us!! Keep the joy in your life.

  2. Thank you for sharing. It is a message that many of us need to heed... myself included.

  3. Great post, great thoughts. I guard myself against too much busyness because I just simply cannot deal with it. Christmas blessings to you my friend!