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A pause for peace

It is Christmas Eve, one like nothing in our memories. In too many homes, the silence tonight is painful, not comforting. It is the absence of precious family members, cherished friends, neighbors who were more than that.

We are assaulted by something that on this holy night is an unholy monster we cannot even see.

Yet it is Christmas Eve. Tomorrow, Christians celebrate the glorious birth of the Messiah. There will be joy in our world, because of what the birth of Christ means to us and to the loved ones we have lost.

Christmas Day is a busy time in many homes. There are gifts to give, festive holiday meals to enjoy, perhaps church services to attend. We sometimes lack sufficient time to pause and reflect on the reason for our celebration.

Tonight, though, all can be calm for a few hours. At some point, all our preparations for the morrow — all that we can do now, anyway — will be complete. We may take time out for the soothing reassurance of a church service by candlelight. We listen to the good, old hymns and prepare our hearts for Christmas.

For those of the faith, it is a time in which fear gives way to serenity. It is a few hours when we can relax and contemplate the very real miracle of the Son of God.

It is a time of peace internally and, we pray, for others everywhere.

More than two millennia ago, that peace came upon a midnight clear, to a world that was in turmoil. It brought joy to the world then — and it does now.

And so tonight, the world lies in solemn stillness again.

Silent night

Holy night

All is calm

All is bright

We hope and pray this evening can bring that calm and that tomorrow brings that brightness to you and yours.

Merry Christmas.

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