I opened the shades to discover a young buck lying under our mountain ash tree. He shouldn’t be so comfortable living in town where there are people and traffic.
But there he sits during this crazy busy holiday season—in no hurry to decorate anything, purchase anything, wrap anything, or be anywhere.
A couple days ago, Dan and I sat in front of the fire, hugging mugs of hot tea, and talking about nothing in particular. Before we married, we regularly celebrated mid-morning Chai latte breaks. “I was hoping we’d still take the time to do that lovely, lazy thing after marriage,” I said to Dan. “And here we are …”
I so appreciate the simple pleasure of camaraderie with my husband, the spicy taste of cardamom in the hot Chai, this slowed-down pace even in the middle of Christmas season.
In her book, Bread & Wine, Shauna Niequist wrote how she always wanted Christmas to be perfect—the perfect decor, the perfect table setting, the perfectly baked cookies.
But she learned:
Either I can be here, fully here, my imperfect, messy, tired but wholly present self, or I can miss it—this moment, this conversation, this time around the table, whatever it is—because I’m trying, and failing, to be perfect, keep the house perfect, make the meal perfect, ensure the gift is perfect.
This thought from Psalm 46:
Be still, and know that I am God (v 10a).
“Be still” is raphah in the original Hebrew (not that I know Hebrew, but there are Bible apps).
Raphah has several meanings, depending on how it’s used. It means, “sink, relax, let drop, refrain, withdraw, surrender, do nothing, be silent, be faint, become weak.”
I wonder what we can drop during this holy season to surrender into the most important things—being present with our people and reflecting on Christ’s coming to this wildly spinning planet to restore relationship between us and our Creator.
As simple as Dan and I have kept our decorations and gift-giving, I know I can drop more, and be silent more, and do nothing more, and withdraw more as I contemplate the reason for this holy season.
Judging from how comfortable he seems in our backyard, he was likely one of the garden thieves this past summer.