©Jeanne E Webster
Have you ever attended a Christmas Eve service? If not, you have missed a Christmas blessing. The minister delivers a short sermon, a few Christmas songs are sung, and then the grand finale…the closure that seals the spirit for the dawning of Christmas Day:
Each person is handed a small candle with a cardboard collar for catching drips. Then the lights are dimmed and the minister begins the lighting of the candles. The warmth of the Holy Spirit descending upon the participants is soon felt throughout the sanctuary. Prayers are spoken and the final Christmas carol is begun:
Silent night! Holy night! All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child! Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.
Silent night! Holy night! Shepherds quake at the sight,
Glories stream from heaven afar, heavenly hosts sing, “Alleluia;
Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born.”
Silent night! Holy night! Son of God, love’s pure Light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face, with the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth, Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.
Silent night! Holy night! Wondrous Star, lend thy light;
With the angels let us sung, Alleluia to our King;
Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born. Amen
And there amid the candled darkness –a hushed humming of Silent Night reverberates throughout–
Many hearts are lifted high as the heavens
and the spirits quiver and tremble
with the same hope of the shepherd boys long ago
on a dark, still night in Bethlehem:
Peace on earth and goodwill to men!