Can’t buy me Peace

I bought a Fisher Price nativity this Christmas Season. The Peanut has been fascinated with the nativity on the entertainment center and Christian was getting a little tired of holding her up multiple times a day to see “those guys.” I buy almost nothing new for the girls, and even fewer toys, so this was a big deal at our house. When I found it waiting for me on our doorstep in the humble Amazon box, inspiration struck.  I would wait until the girls went to bed, then put the batteries in and set it up just like the adult version, only on the floor where the girls could play with the figures. It would be magical! An early Christmas surprise, the idyllic miracle in Bethlehem.

I woke up the next morning to the Rooster yelling for me from her crib, and when I got downstairs, she had not managed to rouse her sister. I let the Peanut sleep. The Rooster and I played on the couch and waited for the Peanut to wake up. When I heard the Peanut having a conversation between her two teddy bears, I slipped in to get her. “I have a surprise for you!” I told her. “We got a new toy!”

I walked around the corner to see the Rooster in all of her glory. She was standing in the middle of the stable, the fence posts I snapped carefully on last night, snapped off. One in each hand. The wise men were slew all over the living room, and the angel that had once been stuck to the top of the scene was nowhere to be seen. A Godzilla sized toddler had taken over the Christmas story. She turned her head toward her sister and me, “Raaaawr!”

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I have about a million things running through my head right now. I am flying out at 10 am tomorrow for my Grandfather’s funeral, and I get back three days before we leave again for Christmas. I don’t have the ornaments on the tree, the Christmas shopping done, the wrapping finished. I don’t even have the ingredients in the house for the baking I hoped to get done. Good luck getting the presents I have half wrapped out before we leave. If I start thinking about packing tonight for myself and then coming home to do it for my family I just freeze.

There is a lot of chaos around these parts. What will happen next? How will I manage? When does this train slow down? How long is this tunnel, and how close is the next one? Is there enough time for me to see the light of day?

I thought I had everything set up this December like the perfect Fisher Price nativity, complete with a singing manger and an angel on top. I turned around and there was this toddler gleefully running through my plans, pieces of the picture in each fist. Raaawr!

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With hope, joy and love I think of the presence  of something. With peace, I think of the absence of things. The absence of things gone awry, the absence of screaming and even any noise too loud, the absence of chaos. Peace lies in silence, in holiness, in a place where all is calm. And that isn’t my house anytime soon. I’ve never really been great at the whole quiet thing and my two loud children are a testament to that.

Does this mean I just have to wait on that piece of the promise God gives us? Is this candle for a time when the Fisher Price nativity is no longer a part of the requisite holiday decor? When these questions flood my mind I am reminded of Mary, in Bethlehem, having just given birth in a freaking stable….for God’s sake.

In her I am reminded that the chaos can be where the peace shows up. When the plans get deconstructed and the kids are too loud, when the things we thought we knew for sure crumble to dust in our hands, when the raging toddler of worry comes stomping into my head and tells me that I am not good enough unless the now impossible plans get miraculously finished, I am reminded of the chaos that Mary was thrown into. An unexpected pregnancy, a mandate to travel for miles, a less than ideal birth suite.

The chaos never really ended for her. A trip to Egypt, a return home later than usual, an oldest son rejected from his home town with rumors spreading that he was a crazy man, only to see him die an excruciating death on the cross. I’ve never fully considered the burden that Mary bore after those initial 9 months.

And yet she sits at the very beginning with the words of peace on her lips, Lord, let it be.

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I am learning to pray that peaceful prayer, the one Mary answered her angel with. If I have to pack, let it be. If things do not go according to plan, let it be. When I am tired and worn and the kids are screaming for one more round of Jingle Bells, let it be.

I am learning to pray it in the hard places to, if this thing comes to nothing, let it be. If what you want for me is not what I thought, let it be. If I am mourning all through the Christmas break, and you sometimes take the things I love most, let it be.

May the Peace of Christ be with  you. Especially in the midst of the chaos.

 

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10 thoughts on “Can’t buy me Peace

  1. I’m sorry for the loss of your Grandfather. You make some excellent points about chaos and peace. It’s easy to get caught up in all the chaos, or frenzy as I call it, that surrounds our celebration of the birth of Christ. And that’s not counting any unexpected things happening to add to our lists.
    May you feel the peace of Christ surround you through the chaos and beyond.
    This is a similar post about Christmas:
    “Where is Jesus in the Christmas Frenzy?” http://learning2hear.com/2012/12/10/3032/

  2. Wowsers. I LOVE this. I was right there with you, feeling the ‘oh noooooooo’ when you entered the room and saw your magical arrangement terrorised. You have such a gift for telling stories!
    And that story encapsulates so well the feeling that things have been ruined – both on the small scale, Christmas stuff and the large-scale world stuff. I am hearing the challenge in Mary’s prayer alongside you.

    Thank you so much for this. Praying that we will both experience peace, which is more than the absence of things but God’s presence. Much love – and thanks for linking up!

  3. I really felt for you as all the carefully arranged Christmas scene fell apart before your eyes. How we all long for our lives and homes to reflect a perfect image of Christmas and how fragile that hope is! Your story of family chaos is all too true and real, just like the chaos Mary and Joseph must have experienced and felt in their unusual circumstances. Yet there was peace and serenity for them too in being in the will of God, no matter where that might take them.
    The same goes for us as we surrender our carefully constructed plans and the sudden devastations of our human existence into His hands. Thanks for the reminder that God’s presence is what sustains us in life’s trials and His Peace is what surrounds us, especially in the midst of chaos. Blessings to you and your family as you lean into Him through your loss and are comforted by His loving embrace in this season.

  4. Pingback: Advent: Less Disney More Messy | Accidental Devotional

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