My Holiday is Christmas

Photo courtesy of Isaac Scheidt

Christmas is a special time of year for me. Christmas lights, family dinners, and work parties have always given me something new and exciting every day of the season. I love that each day is a unique and festive experience.

The funny thing about living life as busy as I do at Christmas is that the season goes by astonishingly fast! I find myself running from one thing to the next and I very rarely take time to soak in the beauty around me at this time of year.

In all of this, there is one moment of the Christmas season where time comes to a halt; singing Silent Night at a candlelight service on Christmas-Eve.

All is calm, all is bright

For one moment in this season there is a time where truly all is calm. That’s what I love most about this moment every year.

Calm…Peace…Rest…

If only for a moment, the clock stops ticking, and all the craziness of the season melts away.

There’s a paradox in this moment. At Christmas we can tangibly feel the energy of everything around us amplified. All is bright! And that brightness of the season can be exhausting. We sense the frenzy of excitement and angst from the drivers next to us in traffic to the cashier at the grocery store. Everyone is trying to go somewhere, find something, or meet someone!

I think it’s the complete chaos of Christmas that amplifies this moment of calm for me every year. I picture the world around me scrambling through the last day of present-buying, gift-wrapping, and traveling home, and yet here we are – lighting candles, taking a moment to reflect, and be calm!

There’s also a beauty in the collective calm of this moment. All around the world, in churches, cathedrals, and ordinary buildings, people come together to pause, to light candles, and to softly sing about the calm and peace of Christmas. I love the universal emotion of pause and rest in this moment.

Son of God, love’s pure light

While the song Silent Night is a wonderful song. It’s really just not the same without the candles. (As I write this, I just lit a candle and I’m listing to a playlist of my favorite Silent Night songs. I know I’m a little obsessed with this song).

If you want the full experience, stop…find a candle…listen to a few of these songs…and read on…

There’s something magical about fire and something so mesmerizing about hundreds of tiny little fires atop handheld candles.

At some point during Christmas Eve service, everyone is asked to raise their candles and sing.

This is the moment!

This is the most beautiful part of Christmas to me! Usually a few tears come to my eyes as a full year of emotions, good and bad, gently rest on my heart.

I think of the beauty of my family and the love shared between us…

I think about another year behind me and all the highs and lows…

I think about another Christmas as a single guy, and I anticipate sharing this moment with my wife one day…

I think of my Aunt Nancy and my Grandmother who recently went home to Heaven, and I feel a bit closer to them in this moment…

I think of family who won’t be home for Christmas this year and miss them…

I think of people in the world who don’t have family for Christmas, and I hurt for them…

I think about how blessed I really am to have people in my life who I love and who love me…

I think about God, what He’s done and what He’s meant to me in the last year…

I think about how loved I feel in this moment…

Christmas means slightly different things for different religions. For me, it’s always been a season to remember God’s love for me. I love the phrase “love’s pure light” – and I honestly don’t even fully understand what it means. (I think it’s funny how humans are so smart and yet the basic form of light is something scientists still struggle to define and understand.)

Lights are such an integral part of Christmas. The beauty of the season is often centered around light. For me, Christmas and Christmas lights celebrate when pure light and pure love became real on earth! God’s is the pure version of love and Christmas reminds me of His perfect love.

Sleep in heavenly peace

Usually about halfway through Silent Night I look around me and start laughing. While I’m in my own introspective moment – pondering all of humanity and their relation to God – I notice a mother frantically trying to keep her young son from lighting his sister’s hair on fire!

I love the joy on a child’s face in this moment. Standing on their chair or being held by their dad…candle precariously raised high…wax dripping in all directions…they just make me laugh!

As a child I didn’t know a lot about Christmas. I never knew why “Santa” would come to the back door and drop off pajamas during Christmas Eve dinner at exactly the time when my Dad was refilling his drink. I never knew what I’d get for Christmas…Really! We were locked out of the “wrapping room” for a month leading up to Christmas knowing that we would probably not make it to Christmas morning alive if we went in there!

Growing up, one thing I did know about Christmas was that sleep just wasn’t going to happen the night before Christmas! As an adult I still don’t sleep well Christmas-Eve (although that might just be due to eating too many buckeye candies and trying to keep up with the rate everyone else in my family drinks coffee).

Despite the lack of sleep there is a sense of peace on Christmas Eve. It’s a special peace that only seems to exist on this one day out of the year. In the moment of singing Silent Night I feel a peace that truly can only be described as heavenly peace…all is calm…all is bright…sleep in heavenly peace…

Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without this moment for me. I seem to need this respite every Christmas Eve to pause, to be calm, to remember that God is love’s pure light, and to remember that heavenly peace is very real at Christmas.

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 Saviour is born

Christ, the Saviour 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

All is calm and all is bright

Round yon Virgin Mother and Child

Holy Infant so tender and mild

Sleep in heavenly peace

Sleep in heavenly peace

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