The Stillness of Christmas

By Alene Brennan

In the midst of the holidays, with all of the shopping, decorating and parties, there is a moment when all is well. A moment when the chaos quiets and I am reminded of the true meaning of the Christmas holiday. It’s a moment that I’ve treasured since childhood and now living with MS, I treasure it even more.

It arrives Christmas Eve.

I’m at church with my family and it’s the final moments that get me every year. The lights are dimmed and we’re each handed a candle. The choir stands at the end of the pews and helps to light the first candles. The flame is then passed down one person at a time until every candle is lit.

We sing Silent Night and with each verse we raise the candle higher.

By the end of the song the room is only lit by the candles and the only sound to be heard is that of the congregation singing.

I love this moment because it’s the peace that I crave so often throughout my day living with MS.

Stillness within and around me.

Family close by.

And feeling the joy of my faith.

To me, it’s a magical moment. Yet, one that requires no preparation. It’s truly allowing ourselves to show up and be present with the moment.

It’s a great reminder that what my heart is being “filled” with in that moment is something that I can create throughout the rest of the year.


It’s so opposite of what I believed for years. Stillness is more of what my body needs than busyness or to-do’s. So, it’s a reminder of the importance to creating intentional time in my day throughout the year to truly rest.


At the end of the day it’s my family that matters to me. And as the saying goes, spend time with the ones who matter most to you.


This is something that is incredibly meaningful to me and became even stronger after my diagnosis. It’s a source of both comfort and strength for me every single day.

Above all, this moment doesn’t cost a dime, it’s truly a matter of showing up to equally give and receive the holiday spirit.

So, as I continue through the holidays, I remind myself that sometimes showing up is enough. Our presence is a true gift to one another.

Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season.

*Alene Brennan works with individuals living with MS and other autoimmune diseases to create a diet and lifestyle that will support their healing and disease management. She holds four certifications: nutrition coach, yoga instructor, personal trainer, and natural food chef. You can learn more about her work and follow her blog, recipes, and more at Check her out on Instagram and Facebook, too!

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