We all have heard of the rhyme ‘it the night before Christmas when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse’.

Nowadays it might be more appropriate to say “it was the hype before Christmas and all through the town, not a creature was silent, not even a clown’.

Wherever you are all feel the tension between being still and having a peaceful Christmas and at the same time having to shop and prepare and meet and great people.

For the last 14 years I’ve spent Christmas in a wide variety of places and yet from Australia to England it’s always similar, looking for peace in the storm!!

Yet if we pray and think of the first Christmas we find that Mary and Joseph would have lived the same thing.

They had no idea where they were going to sleep that first Christmas night not to mention the drama of giving birth and looking after a new child in a new environment….certainly not what we would call peaceful or stress free!

And yet on the middle of the drama were profound moments of peace, awe and ecstasy as heaven met earth with God becoming man.

And that is what I’ve learnt to be the secret to sanity over these periods, not in trying to control all around me because that’s impossible and not running away from it all and opting out because that would be equally impossible and unkind to others but instead, every day finding those little 10 minutes and half hours here and there where I sit with Jesus and breathe in His peace and calm.

One holy lady was said to cover her heart every now and then with her apron and told her kids that when they saw her like this that she was praying and not to be disturbed!! Whatever works!

One thing is sure though, Jesus loves when we do this and He does listen and He does help us. We don’t have to be in a church because each one of us has a little prayer cell inside that we can visit when we still ourselves.

Personally I take these little time outs all the time! In stressful meetings I excuse myself to go to the toilet and I’ve found it a great place to pray over the years no matter where I am because everyone will always have a toilet!!

So in that spirit, may we all find peace in the storm today, joy in the chaos and moments of stillness and prayer in the hype and may these moments recharge us so that we can be joyful and of good cheer to others that we meet!!

Have a lovely night before Christmas!

Michael