For Many, The Most Joyful, Calming Night Of The Year

Well, despite our best planning and our most focused efforts, Christmas has a way of sneaking up on us. It’s tomorrow, in case you’d lost track.

There is so much left to do! The house or apartment needs a last cleaning for family members who visit just a couple of times a year. There’s a holiday meal to be prepared.

A large pile of presents remains to be wrapped. Lists need a final going-over to ensure everyone on them gets something nice. Was anything or anyone forgotten? What do you mean, you thought I was going to take care of Aunt Jennie?

Well, the stores will be open for a few hours this afternoon. We need to get cracking!

Soon — too soon for some, just in time in the minds of many — evening will arrive.

It will be Christmas Eve.

For Christians, it is the most joyful, calming night of the year.

Christmas Day can be a busy, tiring time, during which it can be easy to succumb to “the holidays” and forget, at least for a few hours, the beautiful, enduring significance of the day.

It is a family birthday, after all. It is the day on which the family of Christ celebrates his birth more than two millennia ago.

Christmas Eve gives us a little quiet time before the storm to reflect upon the occasion. We look around us and are grateful for family, friends and so many other blessings.

We think about the greatest blessing of all, the Son of God.

And that sets our hearts aglow. The music and words of beloved old carols come to mind.

Joy to the world …

Oh, come, all ye faithful…

Away in a manger …

O come, o come, Emmanuel …

The first Noel ..

Hark, the herald angels sing …

It came upon the midnight clear …

Oh little town of Bethlehem …

What child is this?

Away in a manger …

Go, tell it on the mountain …

And, for tonight, one of the most beloved and most appropriate:

Silent night, holy night …

All is calm, all is bright …

So it is this Christmas Eve, as the cold and dark of the night give way to the warmth and light of what is in our hearts.

Merry Christmas.

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