Merry Christmas 2017
“Open Your Heart and Look Around
Hear the Song within the Silence
See the Beauty When There’s Nothing There”
This quote is of course from the incomparable Idina Menzel and her song December Prayer. It has been the song that I find myself looking most forward to this Christmas – the one I relate to this year – the one that gives me pause and reflection.
As I was driving the other day I kept repeating the above verse in my head. I thought about how busy Christmas can be and I thought of our old fashioned calendar that hangs on fridge at home.
It probably surprises none of you that our entire lives are on that calendar. The kids have been well trained (haha) over the years to put all their happenings there (Craig is less trained, but we laugh and forgive him as we sigh and go mark in his appointments and activities for him). We have different color sharpies for each of us and we have become a well-oiled family machine of organization. (Albeit a machine that is maybe a little ancient because it still uses paper and pen – but alas it works for us).
At this time of year I often use that calendar to help me write our Christmas newsletter. I pour over it and it helps me remember all the things that the past year held for us. Looking at it I’m reminded of amazing trips and camping adventures, new jobs and new schools, sad endings and exciting beginnings. This little calendar holds so much of our wonderful history over the past year.
But also, especially in months like December, the calendar can seem overwhelming. At first glance it is a sea of green, red, blue and black. A constant reminder of all the things that need to be done, that we need to drive to, that we need to make time for. There are times it’s easy to get anxious about the December page and how many boxes are filled in – not only with one color but with all four. And yes – they are full of fun things we all look forward to – but still they are commitments that come with preparation and that often take us in four separate directions.
But then I take a deep breath and I look again. And it is there I see my favorite thing and I smile. All throughout this colorful, marked-over, tattered piece of paper there actually are some blank spots. Beautiful blocks of emptiness. White space I have become fierce about protecting.
It is this white space that I have learned is sacred. These are not boxes ‘to be filled up’. It is here – in the space where “there is nothing there” – it is here where there is everything. Because it’s here where we are all together and unscheduled. Sure there are lots of times we are together with green pen – times when we have family events & dinners at friends. But these white spaces – this unplanned openness – those become the most beautiful days and evenings at Christmas. Times for us as a family. Days and nights filled with ease – when we don’t have to get out of our pajamas, where we sit around the tree, watch movies, read, eat chicken bbq nachos and play games. Together. Those times are the most precious to me. Those times don’t get penned into a calendar. Those times are found in the white spaces.
So when someone calls and asks if I am free on a certain date this holiday season, and my answer is no, it may not be because the box is filled with pen – but instead because its empty and I’ve learned to “Hear the Song within the Silence. See the Beauty When There’s Nothing There.”
So here’s to 2018 ~ I wish you all a year filled with health, happiness … and many white spaces on your calendars!