All is Calm, All is Bright


It’s Christmas week and church musicians everywhere are gearing up for one of the busiest weekends of the year - Christmas Eve on Saturday and Christmas Day on Sunday. If you’re involved in church services this weekend, you’re probably not describing your week as “calm” and “bright.” Your to-do list probably looks a lot like mine:

write thank you notes
finish newsletter article
proof bulletins
finish wrapping
meet piano tuner

It’s a crazy time, I know, but I’m determined to not let this season pass me by while I was caught up in the details and the planning. I don’t want to miss the spectacle, the gift, the presence of God in our midst. 

You, too? Okay good. Let’s find a few small ways to savor rest and stillness this week. Let’s make our way back to that “silent night,” where all is calm and bright.

Here are three ways I’m practicing rest this week:

1. Reading the Christmas story.

I know, I know - we’ve read it a million times and for many of us, we’ll read it again during our Christmas Eve services. But when was the last time you read the story for you? This is the question I asked myself earlier this week. So, I read it again - silently, slowly. Remembering the simplicity, the miracle of it all. The gift God gave to the world so long ago is as much for you and me as it is for members of our congregations. Let’s take that in for a few minutes this week.

2. Setting priorities.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle of this month, and particularly, this week leading up to Christmas. There are gifts to put together and parties to attend and food to prepare and emails to send and music to practice and my to-do list seems to get longer with each passing day.

Emily P. Freeman (one of my favorite authors) sent out a note earlier this week reminding me that hustle takes away our peace. And the sure signs that hustle is highjacking your soul are distraction, lack of inspiration, and inability to make decisions. Sound familiar? This hit home for me. I want to be present and inspired not distracted and overwhelmed. I want to feel peaceful instead of frantic.

How do we trade hustle for peace? I’m starting by setting boundaries and prioritizing my to-do list. I need space in my day - to think, rest, and get perspective. So, I'm putting my phone on silent, closing out of my email for a few hours, and focusing on the things that need to get done. I’m also setting boundaries at the end of the day so I can enjoy my time at home with SD and Rory without distractions from the day.

3. Listening to music.

Sometimes, I like to work in silence - the quiet feels peaceful and calm. But when I’m fighting the hustle and feeling pressure from a busy week, silence sometimes puts me on edge. During times like this, I find listening to background music helps put me at ease and keeps me feeling calm instead of frantic. My current favorites are the She & Him Christmas albums and this Christmas playlist by Sacred Ordinary Days.

How do you practice rest during this busy season?

Wishing you all the peace and joy of the season, friends. Merry Christmas!