Christmas Eve brings its own peace, contentment

For many of us, this will be a busy day. Last-minute Christmas shopping simply must be finished. Then there are all those presents to wrap.

Friends and family are stopping over, so some housecleaning is in order. And someone has to cook dinner for tonight and begin preparations for the big feast  tomorrow.

Whew! It may be chilly outside, but just a trace of sweat may break out on many brows before the day is done.

But it will be done. And then it will be the most blessed evening of the year — Christmas Eve.

We pause. With the day’s labors over, we relax just a bit. We reflect that on a night two millennia ago, other people far away were contemplating the very same thing we do this evening.

They were shepherds tending their flocks on the hills above Bethlehem. They were learned men eager to present gifts and bow to their newborn king.

During the centuries since then, we human beings have tried many times to reproduce the feeling of that night in the only way we know how, through music.

“Silent night, holy night,” we sing.

“Joy to the world,” we chorus.

“Oh come, all ye faithful,” we proclaim.

Ours is a world as troubled in some ways as the one into which the Christ child came. It also is a place and time in which many of us are blessed in many ways, yet choose sometimes to forget that.

Tonight, we ponder the greatest blessing of all time, however. We recognize that this evening is a prelude to the most wonderful celebration — that of the birth of Jesus Christ.

For Christians, no event in history has held more meaning. Our Messiah, unlike the figures to whom those of so many faiths pledge their allegiance, brought a simple, unique message: Love God and be compassionate to one another. Have faith in and embrace forgiveness. Therein lies both earthly and heavenly peace.

We will be hustling and bustling again on Christmas Day. We will enjoy the material aspect of the day, along with our families and our friends.

But this night brings with it peace and the contentment only those who understand Christmas can enjoy.

For tonight, then, all is calm and all is bright.

May the evening and the morrow be joyous to you and yours.

Merry Christmas.

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