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Silent Night, Holy Night,
All is calm, all is bright.

Silent night, all is calm. That is what we think of most often when we see those lovely pictures of Bethlehem. The sleeping baby is a manger, the shepherds quickly making their way to the stable, Mary and Joseph sitting serenely by with smiles of joy and love. And yet, our own experience of this week is not usually silent or calm or holy. It is full of last minute things we want to buy, or bake, or decorate. It is full of traffic jams, post office lines, and busy shoppers.

laura bethlehemMy invitation to you this week is to carve out time for yourself. Claim the silent night, sit down in the darkness or beside your Christmas tree and listen to the silence. (at least for me, this has to happen late at night or very early in the morning when the kids are asleep). Let go of the to-do list and just let yourself be still. You might think of gratitude and all the blessings in your own life. You might pray for those you love, those who need God’s healing in their lives. You might say a prayer for peace in our world and for those who are alone and afraid this season.

You can also take time with your children to be silent. Even the youngest child can sit for a few moments and watch the Christmas tree lights or candles burning. You could listen to a carol, or ask children to name something they are thankful for this season.

We can find moments of silence and calm and we can use them to remind ourselves of the meaning of Christmas. We are waiting for the baby to arrive and with that child comes hope, peace, joy and love. I hope your family has a Christmas filled with love.

Laura Thornton is the Children’s Minister at All Saints Church in Pasadena CA