This morning the girls were working on an impromptu Christmas play to perform for my husband and me. The rehearsals began with a manic (and obnoxiously loud) rendition of “Jingle Bells.”
“Mommy, we want you to be surprised, so don’t listen,” Madeline instructed.
Don’t listen. Ah, wouldn’t that be nice if I could tune out the ear-splitting singing, bell-ringing, and constant merrymaking?
Of course, then I would have missed this little exchange.
“This isn’t Christ-y enough,” Madeline said.
“Christ is born, what a beautiful sight!” she sang, making up her own little ditty about how the birth of Jesus is what Christmas is all about. (Her song was a whole lot nicer to the ears than “Jingle Bells,” I might add.)
“‘Cwyist’ is booooorrrrrrn, what a beautiful sight!” her little sister echoed.
Their performance left me wondering if my Advent has been Christ-y enough. I made it to my church’s penance service last night. We’ve been making Jesse Tree ornaments each day and praying the rosary more often. Our manger for Jesus is filled with soft yarn as a sign of the sacrifices we’ve been making. But, still, I don’t feel like I’ve been all that Christ-y.
Just the other day Madeline startled me when I had slipped away in silence to have some time to just be alone (oh, how I’ve been craving solitude lately – more on that hopefully in a future post, which I long ago started a draft of but can’t find the time -or quiet – to finish).
“Mommy?” It was a sweet, polite interruption, but I didn’t take it as such.
“What do you want?” I snapped.
“I…I…” She stammered, blinking back the tears.
I can’t even remember what she wanted. The moment was lost first in my frustration of being interrupted (again) and then in the pangs of regret that immediately followed.
The moment I lashed out, I felt pricks of remorse. In truth, I was trying to find God in the quiet. That’s what Advent is all about, right? Finding Christ in the midst of the holiday chaos and commercialism. I’m relentless in my searching. I’d hoped to find Him tucked away in the manger, softly sleeping. I wanted to find Him in the stillness of deep prayer.
Christmas Day is a little more than one week away, and I still haven’t found Him. Maybe that’s because I’ve been looking in all the wrong places. God isn’t only found in one human child born in Bethlehem long ago – He is found in all children, my children. God is in each child with whom I give the gifts of time, patience, gentleness.
While my searching for God will never end, neither will my finding. He’s in the tears of a tired child. He’s in the countless interruptions. He’s in the joyous, albeit deafening at times, singing of my kids. When I start to see Him in everyone I encounter, that is when Christ’s birth happens within me. That is when I become what my daughter would call more Christ-y.