Today is Christmas Eve; it is my favorite day of the year. I love the anticipation, the excitement, the happiness in the air. Our family tradition is to have a lovely meal over candlelight, then go to the family service at church and celebrate the true meaning of the season. After church, we come home and have dessert in front of the tree, then the children get to pick out one gift to open. It is such a peaceful, wonderful evening.
To me, peace and hope are really the heart of the matter, the true spirit of Christmas. It is a theme that is central to so many of the traditional Christmas hymns, many of which were written in times of war and strife:
"Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!"
Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
It came upon a midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
"Peace on the earth, good will to men,
From heaven's all gracious King."
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
I heard the bells on Christmas day
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
All glory be to God on high.
and to the earth be peace.
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks
O morning stars together,
Proclaim the holy birth.
and praises sing to God the King,
and peace to all on earth!
O Little Town of Bethlehem
O Come, Desire of Nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind.
Bid every strife and quarrel cease,
And fill the world with heaven's peace.
Let there be Peace on Earth,
and let it begin with me.
Let There Be Peace on Earth
I hope everyone has a peaceful and joyous Christmas! I would particularly like to extend special thoughts and prayers to all of the military personnel serving our country, including my brother who has spent the majority of the past four years in Iraq and Afghanistan.