So often, especially in the Christmas season, we want to be seen and heard…to be the life of the party or to be thanked (and praised) for the gifts we give that we picked out so carefully and spent so much money on, for that special dish we made, or for how amazing we look in our new outfits. I know I do. Christmas can be the time of excess, stress, and for me, wanting even more attention and recognition than I usually get at other times (which happens to be one of my character defects). So this Christmas season I am working hard NOT to give in to that particular desire but to crave instead to be quiet, and to be the quiet in the “storm”…to show restraint when I want to be critical, to calm another person who is stressed out, to tell others how great they look, how special their gifts are, and how amazing they are…and then to be quiet, expecting nothing in return except the peace and joy of knowing that I am spreading a little of God’s love. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a great example of this. She played such a huge role in our salvation, yet she didn’t speak much (only 15 verses in the Bible), showing instead her quiet humility, gratitude and grace, even when her Son was born. “When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby, who was lying in the manger. After they had seen the Child, they spread the message they had received about Him. And all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Lord, help me especially this week to remember to be quiet, to meditate upon the silent, holy night you were born and the special gift of your love, and to reflect upon how I can spread your love to those around me.