Lala was only repeating what she’d seen on a commercial, sung by wide-eyed frantic sweater-clad people carrying overflowing shopping bags, rushing to mark items off their holiday lists.

While we decorated our house in the first days of the season, I heard her belting out the tune of “Deck the Halls” Fa la la la la, but with the words:

“Go, go, go, go, go, shop, shop, shop, shop!”

“Oh no, we will NOT be singing those words in this house!” I snapped.

I saw the tears threaten to fill her eyes and realized the intensity of my response, but I felt my mama bear rise up because, yes, we are fighting for something here.

“I know you were just singing a commercial, honey, but Christmas is not our celebration of buying stuff. It’s when we celebrate what God already gave us: Jesus.”

The other day, as we rode in the car, the Muppets sang, “We need a little Christmas right this very minute! It hasn’t snowed a single flurry, but Santa, dear, we’re in a hurry!” and then they kept on with their demands that we string lights and slice up fruitcake, and I felt a strong urge to throw a hard object at the radio because Geez, Muppets! Can’t you see? I’m already doing everything I can to make Christmas happen!?!

The to-do list is long, and like every year, I doubt I’ll get it done and feel I’m just keeping my chin above water (as I struggle to keep perspective). I vow to Michael that we’ll do it differently next year — like I always do. We are trying to find time to make Christmas magic and form memories and still do everyday life. Send the emails, scrub the toilet, get the homework done and and and…

I’m feeling the appetite for more. More of me to go around, more time, more serving, more money, more meaning, but when I slow to listen, I find deeper still the longing for quiet, to receive what already is.

This morning, fog envelops our house, and it’s stillness that sits and waits right here, does not jump to the next moment or obligation, but simply is.

Last night, we felt tired and mixed up about our evening’s plan to go caroling. But we went. No big production. Just warm coats, scarves and hats.

We drunk the most incredible thick, drippy cocoa with homemade whipped cream made by our friend who hosted the evening. We shook hands with strangers. We stopped for a glass of wine, conversation and laughter at the home of friends in the neighborhood. We carried song books and LED candles and visited homes of those with their lights on.

We sung “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.”

Children came to front doors in their pajamas, and elderly ladies beamed, and a man with a glorious baritone sung from his porch with us.

And as we walked between houses, we sung “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” and Sici’s face radiated joyous love because we weren’t demanding that Christmas come, but rejoicing in the truth that it already had.


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