the hopes and fears of all the years

I know Christmas was 2 days ago, but I’m not ready for it to be over. It actually doesn’t have to be. (Follow me for a brief moment here; and yes, I do mean brief. I have some presents to keep playing with…)

When I think of the greatest gift I bask in over the Christmas season, there’s one thing that rings true over all. Let me first not dismiss the beauty of much…

  • All the tasty treats, sweets and snacks.
  • The family — near or far.
  • The intentionality in letting people near and dear know how much we care.
  • The individual ornaments, so many that tell a story about a person or place.
  • Christmas Eve church.
  • Those old, familiar carols play.
  • “A Christmas Story,” the Darren McGavin-narrated classic, running endlessly on TBS and TNT this week, still making me laugh. Every. Single. Time.
  • Candlelight — wherever it is.
  • The silence by the glow of the tree.
  • The silent night.

All of the above add to the meaning and merry. There’s more no doubt both for you and for me. But there’s still one thing better that Christmas gives, something I don’t think comes any other way…

I think of that star that guided the Magi to the manger.

I think of the shepherds, keeping watch over their flocks by night.

And whether it be the Magi or the shepherds or you or me, the one thing that was ushered in that night through the life of Jesus was peace. And Lord knows, all of us could use more peace in our lives.

I return to the words of author Sheila Walsh…

“Peace in the midst of all that’s wrong in the world. Peace in the midst of all that’s hard in your family. Peace in the midst of all that’s troubled inside of you. Peace is not the absence of trouble; it’s the presence of Christ.”

In our wondering, therefore, it should not escape us, that every major religion on this planet acknowledges the birth of Jesus Christ. As I sweetly, silently continue then in wonder, I wish that peace to accompany the acknowledgement for all…

  • O little town of Bethlehem
  • How still we see thee lie
  • Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
  • The silent stars go by
  • Yet in thy dark streets shineth
  • The everlasting light
  • The hopes and fears of all the years
  • Are met in thee tonight
  • For Christ is born of Mary
  • And gathered all above
  • While mortals sleep, the angels keep
  • Their watch of wondering love
  • O morning stars together
  • Proclaim thy holy birth
  • And praises sing to God the King
  • And peace to men on earth…