Ten Minutes of Peace

Christmas - candle 2

Jonathan woke up Sunday morning with a scratchy throat, exhausted. He opened his eyes, briefly, when Katie called her morning greeting, then sank back into bed. I shepherded one small girl out of our room while holding another in my arms, doing my best to convince them both to stay quiet so their Daddy could get some rest.

For a nanosecond, I entertained the thought of getting the girls ready and taking them to church all on my own. “Entertained,” I say, for it is an entertaining thought; on a typical Sunday morning, it takes the full effort and energy of both adults to wrangle food into little bodies and little bodies into clothes in time to be five minutes late to church. Add to this the need to intercept a toddler who wanted to “see if Daddy awake” every five minutes and, well, I’m not amazing enough to pull that one off.

So we stayed home, the four of us, and, while Jonathan slept, Katie and I made breakfast and cleaned up the kitchen and read books. These essential tasks completed, we moved to the next: music. It’s a regular request around here: in the car, in the living room, in the kitchen. From the computer, from the radio, from my phone, and, occasionally, from my voice. Depending on the location and the song (and the audience), she’ll dance, running energetic circles in whatever space is available.

I pulled up YouTube, intending to give her the medley of kids’ activity songs she’s been enjoying lately. Instead, there, in my “Watch It Again” feed, was one of my favorite carols of the season: O Come, O Come Emmanuel. 

Life has been, well … life lately. Though I couldn’t necessarily tell you what I “do all day” beyond chasing a toddler and nursing an infant, my hours, while long, seem never to be enough. The noise of two small humans, the noise of the world, the noise of my own whirling thoughts often threaten to overwhelm any sense of quiet, of peace, of wonder. I find it hard to be still.

November 27th came, three days after Thanksgiving, and the coming of the Advent season didn’t register until a hymn popped up in my YouTube feed.

We listened to it once through, then again. Ten minutes of quiet, of stillness, as Abby slept against my chest and Katie sat by my side, watching fingers move across ivory, watching a bow work magic on strings.

Ten minutes, and then she was up again, moving around, ready to run and play. Ten minutes, and then she was asking for the songs she knows, those sung by over-enthusiastic voices, those with accompanying actions. Ten minutes of calm, here at home, on a Sunday morning, before toddlerhood returned with all its energy and questions and busyness.

Ten minutes. But you know what? It was what I needed. It was enough for that moment, for that day. It was enough.

May you receive your own ten minutes of peace, here at the start of the Advent season.

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Wisdom from on high,
who orderest all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Rod of Jesse, free
thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
from depths of hell thy people save,
and give them victory over the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer
our spirits by thine advent here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Key of David, come,
and open wide our heavenly home;
make safe the way that leads on high,
and close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, great Lord of might,
who to thy tribes on Sinai’s height
in ancient times once gave the law
in cloud and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
an ensign of thy people be;
before thee rulers silent fall;
all peoples on thy mercy call.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind;
bid thou our sad divisions cease,
and be thyself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Loving God

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One Response to Ten Minutes of Peace

  1. jywatkins says:

    One of my favorite songs during the holidays! Hope Jonathan is feeling better!

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