Silent night, holy night, all is calm?
Christmas Eve is always a challenge for me. In a parish with 5 Masses in two churches 15 miles apart, it is difficult to try and experience silence, holiness or calmness. Fortunately there are two of us assigned to the parish, and my brother priest is a real workhorse. It is also a bittersweet day for my family, since my father died 28 years ago today. I still have my mom, and she always spends a few days with me as we remember the past, celebrate the present and look forward to the future.
With all of this, I finally get to experience the true meaning when I finally gather with parishioners at the table of the Lord for Christmas Eve Mass. And I do not think I am alone in this. You can actually see the entire congregation relax as our thoughts and attention turn to the beauty of what happened long ago in Bethlehem. Forgotten are the tasks yet to be done, and for those precious moments we are united in the experience of God's great love. I am not surprised that more people go to church at Christmas than at any other time of the year. Despite the commercialization of the season, people of faith still are aware of the "reason for the season", and as much as church may not mean much to some during the rest of the year, you cannot get the full experience of Christmas without sitting in a Church and singing "Silent Night" or other hymns that speak of the events long ago.
My prayer for each of you is that you will experience this unity with believers throughout the world, and that Christmas will find you able to appreciate the beauty of this Silent Night.