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We Wish You A Merry Christmas

A common question around this time of year is, “Are you ready for Christmas?” It can be interpreted in a couple of ways.

Sometimes, the query is whether we have all the gifts purchased, decorations both inside and out finished, donations to worthy causes made, and Christmas dinner food bought and perhaps prepared in advance, and donations to worthy causes made. Depending upon what time of the evening you are reading this, you may still be finalizing your preparations.

Another angle to the question is entirely different: Are we “ready” — that is, in need of — the break from the daily grind offered by Christmas?

Oh, yes. A holiday from work or school is always welcome. We look forward to a few hours enjoying families and friends.

But this is more than just a respite from work or school.

This holiday is different. Christmas is something very special. It is a feeling to which we look forward all year. All of us need a little Christmas, as the song reminds us. Some need a lot.

It began last night, Christmas Eve. At some point last night, we had to call it quits on getting ready for the Big Day. If we’re not prepared by then, we’ve missed the boat.

Some people celebrated by going to Christmas Eve services offered by churches throughout the area. Even if we are not regular church goers, we will feel comfortably at home, hearing the old, familiar story once again. In comparison to the daytime hours, last night brought with it an unusual peace. It was a time for heaven and nature to sing.

Others, perhaps worn out from their pre-holiday labors, will simply kick back and enjoy a minutes of rest, perhaps along with a moment or two of reflection on what it is that we are celebrating.

For Christians, last night really was a time when all was calm, all was bright.

It was a time when all the faithful do come, when there was a pervasive joy to the world. Christmas Eve in truth is a holy night.

Sinking into our easy chairs last night, we recall that the Christmas story does not begin during the hustle and bustle of the day, but upon a midnight clear, away in a manger in a little town called Bethlehem.

There, both fulltime intellectuals in the form of “wise men” and working people represented by shepherds were called to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. He arrived as the promised Messiah for all humankind.

In a way, it was a birthday for all of us, a truly holy night.

We have time on Christmas Eve to think of all of that, to remind ourselves of the reason for the season before today focuses on visits by Santa Claus. Even he was inspired by the Christian compassion of a saint.

We need that silent night as much as, perhaps more than, Christmas Day.

Were we ready in terms of the material trappings of Christmas? Maybe. Maybe not. We’re finding that out this morning.

But a better question than if we were ready for Christmas is if we are ready for the warm, peaceful feeling that came on Christmas Eve — a warm, peaceful feeling that we wish was with us every night? Absolutely.

We wish you a merry Christmas.

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