Christmas Eve services across the land now host the largest number of worshipers of any throughout the year. Like those in the time of Caesar Augustus who traveled to their birthplaces to be enrolled in the census, we make our way to candlelight and Communion services in large numbers. We come from all walks of life looking for, longing for, a sacred moment in time when things have a chance to start fresh—a new center, a new beginning; a rebirth of faith, hope, and love.
This is the culmination of a busy season of planning, decorating, gift buying, and joyous gatherings. Christmas Eve invites us to stop and be still. We linger in the sacred memory of one momentous birth that changed everything. We envision the baby Jesus, newly born, wrapped snugly, and resting in a manger. We remain in awe of the mystery of how this baby was both human and divine, God’s unique gift of the new creation. Christmas Eve invites us to stop our human striving and discover ourselves again as God’s blessed creatures.
We need these times of true stillness and quietness in order to hear the music of life. Music theorists say that the momentary silence between the notes is as important as the notes themselves. Choral directors instruct singers to breathe. Christmas Eve is like that: the momentary silence between the notes and a time to breathe.
The rush of the season is over, and we can rest in God’s grace and renewal. We can rest in the trust that in Jesus, God gave us the gift of beginning again. Jesus! Once a babe, then a man, always the Son of God.
“Now thy manger’s halo bright hallows night with newborn light; let no night this light subdue, let our faith shine ever new.” Amen.