The Ponder Effect | How do we cut through the noise?
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How do we cut through the noise?

The Grinch starring Jim Carrey is a family favorite: no matter how many times we see it, it always elicits belly laughs. The movie has no shortage of memorable lines but one that tops my list is the Grinch’s maddened exclamation:

Oh, the noise! Oh, the Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!
That’s one thing he hated! The NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!

Roger that, Mr. Grinch. Oh, the Noise. Christmas carols on repeat. The word “Mom” on repeat. The beeping of the card machine telling me to REMOVE CARD on repeat.

The noise goes deeper than that, though. It’s not only all around us; it’s inside us, driving us crazy from the center of our very own brains. The noise in my head is deafening—and exhausting. I don’t blame my brain: it’s on overdrive because of the heightened demands placed on it this month. And yet, this is not what Christmas is about. That one merits a repeat: This is not what Christmas is about.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, a time of profound anticipation and personal readiness. How do we balance the contradictory demands of the season? How do we find true stillness amidst the inevitable busyness and silent reflection amidst the noise? Doing so requires resolve, discipline, and heightened vigilance. Rituals help. Reflective reading helps. Scheduled time for prayer helps.

What else? How do we effectively cut through the noise while still embracing the joy? How do we slice our way to Peace on Earth?

Share your thoughts [All posts are 100% anonymous]

5 Ponderings
  • Anonymous

    December 3, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    This year I am choosing not to send out a holiday card. Instead I’ll spend the time making Christmas cookies or ornaments with my kids. Same goes for Christmas decorations. I’ll take a few out but instead of draining myself hanging outdoor lights, I’ll use that time to sit in front of the fire with a book or visit with family and friends.

  • Varina Willse

    December 6, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    One place that I am trying to find silence and stillness is in the morning before my kids are awake. I wake up earlier than I “need to” and begin my day by practicing meditation and reading from scripture. Though chaos awaits and to-do lists loom large, this foundation helps me stay centered throughout the rest of the hectic day.

  • Anonymous

    December 7, 2018 at 8:29 am

    I got a copy of the Costco magazine in the mail headlined with “Stress free holidays!” And I thought, why should a holiday be stressful? Those words shouldn’t be next to each other. So I simply decided not to be stressed out. Just remain calm and loose and open. Tackle things a little at a time. Try to find the joy in selecting a gift for my mother in law. Sign up to volunteer and say No to that extra kid friendly event I feel like I “should” do. BE with my kids. BE with my husband. Talk about the significance of Christmas.

    It’s just an attitude shift but it’s made a difference. It’s not about perfect it’s about presence.

  • Anonymous

    December 8, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    I feel everything falling away when I sit at night in darkness with our lighted Christmas tree. The world, my world, is still and quiet and beautiful.

  • Anonymous

    December 12, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    I remind myself I can say no.