Right before Christmas, the whole city is abuzz with shoppers, dashing to and fro, preparing for the Big Day. It seems like the air is super-charged with frenzied energy.
For my family, our point of arrival is Christmas Eve, when we go to a candle-light service and bask in the soothing glow of the wonderful story of Jesus arriving as a babe, and sing songs of adoration to the King. Finally, a calm settles over our hearts, the lights along the streets are all a twinkle, and our preparations are all ready -- our shopping and our hearts.
What a holy night. My heart sings with reverence. We return home and allow the children to open one small gift before bed, and we enjoy a special treat. Once they are tucked into their covers, we bring out the remaining gifts and place them around the tree. We load the stockings with little treats, and sometimes string additional streamers and decorations from my husband's childhood, to make the house festive enough for a birthday party. We leave the tree lit, and we fall into our bed around midnight.
There is no other night that feels the same. The presence of the Lord, His holy host, angles in a choir, must all descend upon the earth en mass. The peacefulness and stillness permeates my mind and heart, and even if there are troubles, they all disappear in the face of such glory-- Christ was born.
Christ is born.
He is come.
O Holy Night...
God of Heaven and Earth,
Cover our minds with your peace,
And our lives with your joy.