That's how I would describe this last month--the most wonderful time of the year. Don't get me wrong: it was not abnormal. It was not unlike the "typical American" experience. It was parties and cooking and family gatherings and shopping and preschool performances and worship and baking and mailing and making and driving. There was joy, celebration and excitement. There was peace, love and music. It really was wonderful.
But even as my mind sorrowed to packed away books and CD's with the ornaments and tree, my spirit had a surprising reaction. Ahhhh, rest. relief. quiet. The end of the Christmas season signaled the end of my heart's losing-match pillow fight.
Today was a welcome change of seasons, and the whole world seemed intent to celebrate with me. The sun is shining and the weather is warmer than it's been. People are in no rush. Friends take the time to say what's been on their minds for the last two weeks.
The word for the day that we celebrate the Magi finding Christ also happens to be the word we use to describe a moment of sudden revelation or insight: epiphany.
While my insight has been more slow-and-in-the-works than sudden, it came to a sweet culmination today, nonetheless.
I was reminded again today of the importance of my actions to my children, across the days and weeks and Christmases and years. And if I were to only do one impactful thing for them once a week, I would get to do that about 936 times from the day that they were born to the day that they'll be old enough to go live on their own.
So, my eyes were opened. There was some epiphany work going on in my heart. In a similar way that the pillow fight of Christmas busyness interfered with my vision, the insight of Epiphany sharpened my focus.
My heart had been longing for something, although I wasn't sure what (other than the routine of January). Today I realized that the chaos and clamor of December had been pounding away at the values I hold in my mom heart. To spend time with my children; to direct life-building words to my children; to show a consistent and lavish love for them; to purposefully bring them into groups that will help mold them; to share stories together; to linger in times of untainted fun. These are things I value. These are things I hold dear. It's not the shopping or the performances or the lights. And as I had time today to rename (and reclaim) the desires I have, I was very aware that I was lacking wisdom in the month of December. When I review my attitude for the day-in/day-out, there was something terribly lacking--the white space of turning insight into action.
But today was no longer Christmas. Today was Epiphany.
Instead of rushing from one thing to the next, Zeke and I spent a half hour at a park. Instead of zoning out, I told important stories and answered deep heart questions in the car ride home. Instead of saying no, I said yes, and the boys and I spent 45 minutes on toys with wheels going up and down the driveway. Instead of losing my patience, I snuggled with my 2-year-old who was having a hard time calming down for his nap. Instead of spending time on my phone, I snuggled next to my 4-year-old, reading a good book while he held my right hand tight as he fell fast asleep.
What a gift. What an epiphany. To lose the busy schedule and busied brain and delight in the stars that God has placed in front of my eyes. This is the place where God does miracles. This is the place were my heart can worship.
After this ... the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Matthew 2:9-11