Another Christmas Eve is here. We've enjoyed a busy, tradition filled Christmas season. Starting Thanksgiving weekend when we head out to chop down our family Christmas tree and spend the next few days decorating it and our home for Christmas. December brings lots of activity--cookie baking, a family Christmas dinner with long time friends and kids, the Nutcracker, two special birthdays, advent Sundays, bunco and book club dinners and gift exchanges, a journey to Bethlehem at a local church, a drive through a local neighborhood to see the lights, and a 10 year running Christmas party that we host the weekend before Christmas (this year attended by over 90 people at some point during the evening). Of course there are also Christmas cards to send and many gifts to buy, wrap and send to family and friends afar.
Tonight we attended Christmas Eve Mass at our church. All together in one pew, our family, including Grandma, PaPa and Great Grandma, sang Christmas carols and heard the story of Jesus's birth. Cold and wintery outside, but warm and inviting and filled with many friends we love inside.
Now the stockings are hung, the presents are wrapped and Santa has just left. I sit here in the quiet by the light of the tree with the Christmas music playing just taking it all in. It always comes to quickly for me and ends so fast. I just want to sit here for awhile and enjoy this moment, soak it up, hang on to it for just a moment longer.
It is Silent. It is Holy. It is the best night of the year.
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus
that the whole world should be enrolled.
This was the first enrollment,
when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.
And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth
to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem,
because he was of the house and family of David,
to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
While they were there,
the time came for her to have her child,
and she gave birth to her firstborn son.
She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.
Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields
and keeping the night watch over their flock.
The angel of the Lord appeared to them
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were struck with great fear.
The angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid;
for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.
For today in the city of David
a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.
And this will be a sign for you:
you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes
and lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel,
praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”