Santa Clauses, decorations and Christmas trees! All lit and ablaze! Santas in every mall, striding down streets, and Christmas trees, set up, lighting the sky and ground below! Such excitement! Every store screams ‘Christmas Sale’ with discounts as shop window seductively beckons you in!
They told me Christmas in New York would be sheer excitement! People smile, people wish you on the streets! Oh yes, there’s exhilaration as children scream about Santa’s gifts while fathers grin and mothers smile to see such festive cheer.
Ah yes, the music! It’s not just from homes carols play, nor just malls where flash choirs sing out the Christmas message but in snow filled parks and by the riverside too, loud carols bring in the happiness of the Season..
…and it is here by the riverside I walk, and slowly look at the waters below.
Suddenly, sights, sounds, and santas cease. There is a stillness in the waters, and as the East River flows by me towards the nearby sea, a calm warms me, far greater than the excitement behind in city lights.
“What?” I ask the river, “Can be greater than the happiness this December to the city brings?”
The waters are still, but as I stare a message lifts up to me, “He leads me besides the still waters!”
“The Lord is your shepherd,” cry waters below, “you shall not want anything! He makes you lie down in pastures green! He leads you beside us waters!”
I look down and nod.
There’s joy there and deep contentment! Peace and calm!
I stare at the water stillness, and hear echoing words, “He restores your soul!”
Not my mind, not my heart, nor body that craves excitement and new experiences all the time, but my soul whose cry for restoration comes not from the ‘Ho! Ho! Ho!’ of Santas in malls, not from axed trees lit by powered generators, not from carols sung by trained singers, but from the stillness of creation, from waters that are windows to the ‘peace that passeth understanding!’
I turn back to the city lights, for a moment troubled with new thoughts, “Are the carols, the Santas, the trees and gifts all wrong?”
“No,” say the waters, stirring within me, “In carols sung, trees lit, Santas seen and gifts given, feel the stillness that comes from a Christ child born to bring peace! Feel the calmness of that manger!’
And suddenly, like a Hallelujah Chorus breaking forth, the sights and sounds of the city bring a joyousness much greater than just a month of excitement: A lifetime of Stillness!
“He leads you beside the still waters!” the angels sing, as I smiled at Santa, carol singers and lit trees and whisper, “your messages of joy are right, it’s just that we’ve read you wrong..!
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