So I’m a big Amy Grant fan, you can ask anyone… When I was a kid, she was the ultimate – with her leopard-print blazer and that hot pink lettering on the album cover for “Unguarded.” Oh, she was so rad in my 10 year old mind! Aaaahhh… (pause for nostalgic interlude).
But now that I’m just a bit older, I don’t just love her because of my 80s, star-struck obsession with a Christian pop icon. I love the honest lyrics she chooses because they are so true to life. Case in point, she wrote a song called “I Need a Silent Night” and it starts out like this:
I’ve made the same mistake before
Too many malls, too many stores
December traffic, Christmas rush
It breaks me till I push and shove
Children are crying while mothers are trying
To photograph Santa and sleigh
The shopping and buying and standing forever in line
What can I say?
I need a silent night, a holy night
To hear an angel voice through the chaos and the noise
I need a midnight clear, a little peace right here
To end this crazy day with a silent night
SO relatable, right?! Can you identify? Does your heart wish, as mine does, that we could just take a step back and simplify?
So many times I ask myself, “Why?” Why do schedules get so crazy? Why do I worry so much about the “things” when I know that I know better? Why do I say “yes” to too many things and forget that there is only so much time? It’s an endless cycle.
Ultimately, I have to stop and ask myself: What am I doing that will have a lasting effect on my children? What do I want them to remember about Christmas when they are all grown up?
I asked one of my most impactful MOPS mentors those questions when our twins were just infants. I wondered what key things she did to raise her children. She has five daughters, all grown and truly devoted to their faith; her experience as a mom was incredibly valuable. I expected her answer to be some wonderful vacation or super-awesome tradition.
Yet, she replied very simply: “Reading with them.”
Reading with them. So simple, so sweet, so easy, right?!
But being truly present, to the point of sitting down and reading with my children can be so hard for me to do. However, if this wise woman of the Lord, who taught me about motherhood for seven years said so, I believe her.
So as I write and give myself this “talking-to,” I want to encourage you – if this is your struggle – to do the same. May we claim the Silent Nights for our families – to slow down and soak in the Christmas story alongside our young ones.
It’s just like when Jesus visited two sisters in Luke 10:38-42…
38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home.39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
This piece of Scripture points us to the fact that Jesus knows our struggle. He knows we have to fight against the priorities the world says we need to have, and choose the ones that draw us nearer to Him. So as we have all these choices, each vying for our attention, we need to know that we can opt out. We can be the “Mary” in a “Martha” world. Because at the end of the day, we are the parents and we get to decide what matters most.
With that, I pray that you know that the Lord is with you as you parent. He yearns for you to call on Him to help you in whatever you need: strength, wisdom, comfort, assurance… He is our Immanuel, which translated means, “God with us.” His name even tells us that we are not alone! He is overjoyed when you share Him with your children. And I pray that you find total joy with your family, whenever you carve out that Silent Night with them. And you can take comfort in the fact that He is so faithful to shine in and through us whenever we ask Him to.