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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

December 11, 2014

Simplicity—plain, unfussy, straightforward, easy to understand and something I innately crave at this time of year, this Christmas season when, all around us, is frenzy, chaos and stress. Somehow I can’t imagine that the One whose birth we are supposed to be commemorating would even recognize that fact in today’s world.
I find myself becoming even more reclusive these weeks preceding the holidays simply because I can’t bear the rudeness of drivers on the highway and the bustle-and-shove mentality in the stores, and we won’t even mention the ear-splitting decibels of music blaring. Christmas carols? Praise? Really???
Our daughter posted an article this morning about why we shout at one another when we’re angry. Basically, it’s because anger distances our hearts from one another, so we shout to bridge the gap. Love has the opposite affect. We speak softly, even in whispers.
So, with that in mind, perhaps the result of merchant-driven, neighbor-rivaled competition to have the best gifts, the fanciest decorations, the most impressive parties, and the most packages-under-the-tree on Christmas morning has little to do with a Birthday, and a whole lot to do with anger. Anger, you ask? Who are we angry at? I don’t have the answer for you, but I can tell you that I’m angry with the commercialism, the bottom-line-mentality and competition that puts such stress and strain on all of us. We can’t help but be drawn in at least to some degree. It is in our human nature to want to measure up. Fear of what others will think if we don’t tend to pull us, year-after-year, chin deep and sputtering into the muck. Gotta get this, have to bake that, not to mention the oh-I-forgot to do's and will-I-get-it-all-done's. Oh my!
I yearn for the contrast: The true message of Love, embodied in the One who brought it to us—patience, meekness, forgiveness, consideration and kindness for one another, and most importantly a true reverence and praise for God.
Simplicity. Oh to achieve this instead of the empty striving for splendor and brilliance that, let's face it, ends promptly, when the last package is opened, in an anti-climatic what-now!
A gentle snow is falling this morning, blanketing a rain-soaked, wind-ravaged woodland in soothing whispers. Every little twig is covered, the trees huddled together in breath-taking, silent beauty.
MouseHouse Village is quiet too. Only little wisps of white smoke from their Walnut Woodstoves are testament to simple gatherings around the warmth. They are huddled in to well-stocked, amply-prepared winter homes. Ready, in their simplicity, for what lies ahead. I’m grateful for their example.
And I’m grateful this morning for the reminder that despite all the noise and bustle around me, God speaks in whispers. Oh to be quiet enough to hear!

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