After Christmas I feel like I have a hangover. Not the kind that comes from too much eggnog, but from the racket and clamor of holiday sounds. It is overwhelming the amount of noise that comes with Christmas. Some of it is wonderful, truly magnificent. There is nothing like the awed voices joining together for “Silent Night” or the slightly off key… “Glo---------ria, in excelsis De-o.” The slightly off key person is usually me; my best friend compares my singing of this song the entire cast of “Peanuts Christmas” enthusiastic, but a bit flat. I’m okay with it; God gave me this voice, so I like to make sure God can hear it.
There are other sounds that after a while begin to painfully reverberate in my ears. I can only take hearing “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” and “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” so many times. By “so many times” I mean that once is more than I was hoping for.
My ears grow weary of the screeching children overdosing on Christmas cookies, battery operated toys that never shut off, cards that sing when you open them. I don’t know why people find these necessary…
I have found a cure for my auditory “holiday hangover.” A tradition we began at First Presbyterian last year for the Sunday after Christmas. Our organist takes the Sunday off, and we worship in a Taize format.
The silence is long, uncomfortable and a welcome transition for the New Year. The songs are simple, inclusive and prayerfully melodic where we all tend to get lost in the prayer rather than being concerned if we are signing on key or not. I love how I find myself singing these songs later in the week and I am instantly drawn back into that meditative space.
Of course we go back home, where the New Year celebrations begin and some well meaning adult gives our children those party horns to blow on, but for just a moment in the between space of racket and clamor silence existed a silent awakening of God’s still small voice in my life.