Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Silent Night By Candle Light


This was the night I had been waiting for. In a whole year of holidays and special events, none places higher on my list than the Christmas Eve service at church. I wait and I wait and bide my time through all the seasonal nonsense. Then the blessed night finally arrives.

I'm home from work, cleaned up and well fed. We pack the short people off down the street. The church is bright and full. It's all the same people I see every week, but they look so much happier on this night. The C & E crowd is there too. Folks I only see on those two days. They're radiant as well.

The service progresses. The choir cranks out the old standards. My Mom is next to me, singing along with the tenors. The air is warm and still. It smells of candles and sweaters. Then that blessed moment of all moments arrives. The first candles are lit from the advent wreath in the front. The flame is passed to the choir and then down the center aisle. This year Miss O is old enough to hold a candle and she passes me the flame.

We sing Silent Night together and everyone's really singing for once. The basses are paving the way. Those that can sing parts grab the alto and tenor parts and the rest sing the melody. Gone is the usual accompaniment. A single accoustic guitar floats its gentle tones across the room. The song ends and we say the final words together. The lights remain low. Some extinguish their candles. Others carry theirs still lit into the lobby. All is still quiet.

Eventually the talking begins but it happens slowly. Eventually everyone is catching up and hugging, shaking hands and wishing a Merry Christmas over and over. We usually linger till the very end, it's just so warm and wonderful.

And that is what Christmas means to me.

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1 comment:

Daniels5 said...

and I missed it, I wanted to cry last night. I missed not being there in that atmosphere. I wanted to put on the chior robe even though I haven't been there to practice, I know the songs. I wanted to hold my candle and sing silent night too. I wanted to dress my kids up in there christmas sweaters and have them stand quietly in awe of the whole christmas eve service. thanks for sharing your evening w/me. Merry Christmas Dayton's