Merry Holidays, Happy Christmas!

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Usually one to enjoy Christmas Eve in my jammies, curled up with a book in front of the fire with Becky, Moxie, and Pepe nearby. But last evening, we braved the cold, drove off to an area of town where we had never been, and went to a Christmas pageant. I didn’t know what to expect, but I came back with new hope for this holiday we call Christmas.

It began with a small orchestra playing Christmas favorites. The church was huge, and lit only in candlelight. The large choir was quite impressive, filled with talented voices. I could tell this was going to be a memorable Christmas Eve.

The words and tunes of the carols were familiar. The church was filled almost to capacity, so I was comfortable singing. My voice, turned warbely over the years, does not sound like my own. I prefer now, to listen to others. I reserve, of course, the right to sing loudly to the music on my car stereo when I am alone. But for the most part, I remain tuneless. I must admit that I sang ‘Silent Night’ as loudly as I dared. There is something about that song. To sing loudly about a silent night seems wrong somehow. Perhaps that’s why I have to do it.

But the pageant is what stole my imagination, and has fired my thoughts today. It was about Santa. Santa? At a church Christmas Eve Service? What? What does Santa have to do with it?

Indeed. But that is how the play began. Santa wandered through scenes of Christmas shoppers. Pushing, shoving, frantically searching for the right/the cheapest/the most popular gifts. Santa looked for the very thing I have been looking for—the essence of the Holiday. Then he meets Saint Nicholas, and watches as St Nick gives to those in need, cheers those who are sad, gives hope to those whose hearts are breaking. Together, they approach and kneel at the manger to worship Jesus.

We light our candles, and sing the last carol. We have many ways to celebrate the Holiday season. The month of December holds Holy days for many faiths. Christmas is but one, and within that day, there are many rituals and traditions that one may follow. But my hope for the Season, is that love may bind us all. Perhaps that is the essence I seek.

Happy Holidays.