One of my favorite moments of the year is standing with flickering candle in hand around the sanctuary of Calvert City United Methodist Church. All around me are both people I have known my entire life and strangers. The beautiful melody of “Silent Night” echoes around us. This is home to me. This is Christmas.
When I was in Ireland, I swore up and down that I wouldn’t jump back into the usual craziness of my life once I returned home. That resolution lasted less than 12 hours before I was back to juggling commitments and running around…not unlike a chicken with its head cut off. It would be lying to say that I don’t sometimes enjoy the craziness, especially after four months of a relatively low-stress life.
It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness. It’s easy to stop taking time to chill out and unwind. It’s easy to ignore the still small voice that speaks softly, but offers more peace and comfort than all the hot chocolate in the world.
This Christmas Eve I was reminded of the promise I made to myself in Ireland. Thinking of the precious baby that was born so long ago into a world that was too busy, too overwhelmed to pay attention, the words of “O Holy Night” struck me afresh.
“Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appeared and the soul felt it’s worth.
The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees.”
Fall on your knees. . .
The joy of Christ’s birth is so overwhelming it should knock your feet out from under you. However, in the busyness and stress that often surrounds this season, we’re too busy making sure our checklist is complete to revel in the good tidings of great joy. We’re too busy trying to make sure everything is perfect to realize that the perfect gift was already given. We’re too busy to let God knock our feet out from under us, bringing us closer to him and to our fellow man.
Standing in the sanctuary this evening, tears ran down my face. Not sad tears, but joyful ones. We have a God who is more overwhelming than the busiest schedule. He thrills our weary souls, reminding us that he is with us. He is Immanuel.
He is my home. He is Christmas.
Merry Christmas, dear friends. May the joy of the day be with you now and always.