All is calm…

Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm, all is bright,
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child.
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night! Holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight;
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heavenly hosts sing, Alleluia.
Christ, the Savior, is born!
Christ, the Savior, is born!
*

For some of us, everything is ready and the house is relatively calm. But for others, there is a lot of last minute hustle on tap for today.

It all depends on what is happening in life at the moment. And yet, it is important to press the pause button and choose calm. I prefer less hustle, but that probably has to do with how busy things have been for the last six weeks helping everyone else get their Christmas gifts in order due to our business. It is a wonderful change in pace to go from long working days to just shipping out a package or two a day and spending more time with the kids and grandkids.

Nearly all is calm here in my neck of the woods. We don’t host a huge dinner because we don’t have the space. That’s okay with me because these limitations contribute to my calm. They also limit my distraction from the true celebration here. The gifts and family time are fun and precious. But…

Christ, the Savior, is born!
Christ, the Savior, is born!

When I ponder these words, the what is and what isn’t in my life takes a back seat. Christ, the Savior, is born! Christ, the gift for the whole world, is here. His salvation is a gift for me. And this so very personal gift from God is an incredible treasure to me.

Christ, my Savior, is born.

Come, Lord Jesus!
Liz

*by Joseph Mohr, 1792-1848

Reaction vs. Response

For some reason, those two words feel very differently to me. So I checked in with Merriam Webster to see what the distinction might be. I guess the difference is mainly that a response, as an action, is neutral but a reaction can be positive or negative. I don’t know. What do you think?

Definition of reaction

1athe act or process or an instance of reacting

bresistance or opposition to a force, influence, or movement especially tendency toward a former and usually outmoded political or social order or policy

2a response to some treatment, situation, or stimulus her stunned reaction to the news alsosuch a response expressed verbally critical reaction to the play

Definition of response

1an act of responding 

2something constituting a reply or a reaction: such as

aa verse, phrase, or word sung or said by the people or choir after or in reply to the officiant in a liturgical service

bthe activity or inhibition of previous activity of an organism or any of its parts resulting from stimulation

cthe output of a transducer or detecting device resulting from a given input

How do you respond to situations? What is your tendency? Do you rush to judgment? Collect the facts first? Are you willing to hear everyone out? Are you a “reactor” or a “responder”?

Of course, it all depends on the situation. Some do call for quick action. But for normal, everyday things that happen, do you have a tendency to be negative about whatever you are facing?

And are you happy with it?

Training ourselves to respond calmly to situations is important. Paying attention to the words that come out of our mouths is important. Along with that, habits like eye-rolling, heavy sighing, foot stomping, door slamming, needing to have the last word, and low-register grumbling are just as important to gain control of.

Here is a challenge for both you and me:

Let’s spend the next 24 hours without uttering a complaint. Will life be all rosy and full of tulips and puppy kisses? I doubt it. But we can still spend 24 hours not verbally complaining. If you really need to “complain”, write it down in a notebook and in 24 hours decide if you still need to present the complaint.

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[c] [Philippians 2: 14-15, NIV]

Blessings to you as you consider reactions and responses!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: BOXES