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Silent night.  Holy night…

Step outside.  Close your eyes.  Stand very still.  Listen.  There are angels singing; can you hear them?

Christmas is here, and we have spent the last few weeks with our normal schedule drastically altered.  We have spent more time in the stores than normal.  Our stress level has shot through the roof. Our hands ache from cutting paper, and there are some spots where the tape seems to have ripped our skin right off the bones.  Our refrigerators are bursting with ingredients for our famous Christmas dressing.  Trays of cookies are highlighted on gaily decorated trays, with the burnt batch hidden in the trash can.  We have gone over and over and over our gift-giving list, and find that there are still three items yet to have been found.  You look in the mirror and frighten yourself at the hair standing on end, rings around your eyes that would make a coon proud, and exhaustion wrapped around your entire body like a hair coat.

Stop.  Take a deep breath.  It is admirable that you want to make this Christmas as perfect as possible for your family.  It speaks of a heart overflowing with love for those near and dear to you.  But in doing so, you will miss out on the sheer wonder of the season.  With your mind so focused on the next task, you cannot see the beauty of the season.  You cannot hear the thrill of the music flowing around you.  You may want to give your children the latest, greatest toy, but are you refusing to acknowledge their gift of laughter and excitement?  When caroling, or standing in the pew at church, is your mind running down your mental list of things to do, or are the words of the song flowing from your ears to your heart, to your very soul.  There is nourishment in those words; are you taking it in?

It’s time to slow down.  Enjoy the season with all your senses.  Smell the crisp, clean air.  See the beauty of Nature around you.  Feel the joy down deep.  Taste the wonder.  Stop the busyness, and fully, completely, unconditionally, know and love every aspect of this Christmas.  It will be the best gift you receive this year.

Oh, Holy night!  The stars are brightly shining….

Step outside.  Close your eyes.  Stand very still.  Listen.  There are angels singing; can you hear them?

From the hearts of Paradise Plantation – We wish you a very blessed, joyful and Merry Christmas!