“Silent night, Holy night. All is calm, all is bright. Round yon virgin mother and child. Holy infant so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace. Sleep in heavenly peace.”
The church is quiet as the candlelight begins to fill the sanctuary. One by one each candle’s flame begins to shine. With each light the darkness becomes less. As all the voices join together singing, the stress, worry, and problems of this world fade away. All that is left is the music and light.
Growing up there was always magic that filled the church when we would sing Silent Night and light our candles. For me, this all started when I was old enough to go to my Grandma’s Christmas Eve service that started at 11pm. Gathered together we would raise our candles on the last verse of Silent Night and welcome Christmas day together at midnight. There is nothing like seeing this through the eyes of a child and feeling the love and hope that was so abundant. Tears would come to my eyes as I felt God’s love fill my heart. Nothing will ever be able to top those Christmas moments for me. Every year on Christmas I think back to the first time I was able to go to the late candlelight service and come out of the church doors to snow falling on a new day. Everything was hushed and made clean and pure by the blanket of snow and the good news that was shared that Christ is born.
Now as an adult and having more stress and the craziness of working as a nurse, Christmas just doesn’t seem the same. I feel there is just this need to try to fit everything in during the advent season. Now I know realistically that I can’t do it all, but I always try. Sometimes the stress just catches up with me. My mind becomes a mush of things to do. “Did I get a present for Mom?” “Can I figure out a night to drive through Christmas lights?” “When will my friends be free to have a Christmas party?” “What choir am I singing with tonight?” “Do I have something to wear to the party on Saturday?” I bet you have had similar thoughts. These must be things that come with getting older. When I feel like this, I know I need to take a moment to remember the reason for the season. Having that childlike wonder and Christmas spirit is something that we all need to be reminded of during this time of year.
My prayer for you is that you are able to take time during these days after Christmas, actually during the 12 days of Christmas (yes, it has more meaning than a song, look it up!) to find what this season really means to you. There are so many ways you can find that spirit: through hope for what is ahead, peace during difficult times, joy for how you have been blessed, and love shown between friends and family. Take a moment and light a candle. Sing a carol. Then share God’s love and grace however you do best. You never know how one moment can make an impact on your life.