As I write this, Christmas Eve is well underway and in a few hours, my family and I will be attending our church for traditional Christmas Eve services and then enjoying our annual Christmas Eve party at the home of some very old family friends. Traditions are very important to me because they are a link to things in the past that I treasure: memories, of Christmas Past; friends and family who are no longer with us; anticipation and excitement; reverence and reflection; worship and praise and so much more, all rolled into one large and brightly wrapped package.
This package doesn’t go under the Christmas tree, nor in a stocking hanging from the mantle. You won’t find it in the department stores, among the hustle and bustle of last-minute shoppers. It doesn’t come any particular individual, nor does Santa himself bring it. It comes from the heart, to be shared and savored, taken out for one brief but shining day, then it goes back into the heart to be kept throughout the year. As each year goes by, it presents itself in the form of a smile shared, a laugh enjoyed, a hug offered, a good deed performed, a hymn uplifted and a prayer humbly offered. It feeds and nourishes our soul, sustains us in troubled times, empowers us and encourages us in our daily walk of life. It is Christmas in all its Glory, given by God in the form of his son Jesus Christ, bringer of all good things, of peace on earth and good will towards all.
This evening and in the morning, church bells will ring and the sounds of voices raised in song will be lifted up to the strains of the mighty organ or the simple guitar. Heads will bow in prayer and as we pray, let us remember those for whom Christmas is not the greatest day of the year; those who are hungry, those who are in need, those who are ill and those who have lost their way. Each need our prayers, especially now when times are so uncertain. In countries around the world, soldiers stand a solitary watch, ready to act at a moments notice to keep their charges safe from harm. Remember these men and women too because their presence there keeps us secure just as their absence here reminds us that peace is still something we must strive to achieve.
To all who read this, friends, family and followers, it is my most heartfelt wish that you and your loved ones have a very blessed holiday of celebration, surrounded by friends and family, that your traditions will shine brightly and keep you all the year through.
Merry Christmas to All and to All, a Good Night!