It. Is. Almost. Here.
This is my most favourite time of the year, EVER! The snow, the lights, the music, the smells, friends and family gathering, the cooking (it’s the only time of the year I really enjoy doing this part), the decorations…
In our family Christmas Eve meant attending a midnight church service, it was magical. Families dressed up in their Christmas best, and came together to the church. The children attending were very excited about being able to stay up late and greetings of ‘Merry Christmas!’ resounded in the hallways of the church. Traditional carols were sung from the words that were projected on the wall at the front of our church (yes, before we had Powerpoint), and the pastor spoke from a spotlight in the pulpit about the birth of christ.
And then, at the very end of the service and the church was engulfed in darkness, the choir processed from the balcony, each holding a candle and singing ‘Silent Night’. Each congregant also had a candle and the light was passed along from one to the next. In the glow of the candlelight and the choir encircling the congregation and we sang together, in english and in german (it is Minnesota after all). The last verse was always hummed (still is today).
In the moment following the final note there was a silence, a stillness, among the congregation. As I reminisce I realize that in that silence, if we paid close attention, we found the greater meaning of Christmas… it truly is not about us or about finding that perfect gift, is it?
All in a moment of…
There is still a Christmas Eve service like this at the church, though its much earlier in the evening now and the congregation is about a quarter of the size it was then. It still brings me to tears, leaving me in awe of the gifts given to us.
In the midst of the rush to complete our Christmas shopping, the throngs stampeding the malls to find the gifts that are just right (and the most popular) for our loved ones, let’s take a moment to remember why we celebrate Christmas. Find that moment of quiet stillness.
We hear this often around the holidays, remember those who do not have family to be with, or do not have homes in which to celebrate the holiday season within. Let’s consider this not only at the holidays, but year round.
(you knew a video was coming, didn’t you?)
Though this is not a recording of ‘Silent Night’, it is absolutely beautiful and elicits stillness. I suggest lighting the tree and the holiday candles, turning off the iPod, computer games and cell phone, and having a mug of hot chocolate (or mulled wine) while watching this one.