Christmas Eve turns thoughts to meaning of holiday

An editorial from The Journal

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Life seems busier than in the good old days, doesn’t it? And there is so much about which to worry. Will the economy pick up steam? Will children and grandchildren get good educations? Will we be safe from perils ranging from drug abuse to terrorism?

But never mind all that. It is Christmas Eve. For those of the Christian faith, the blessed event we are about to celebrate gently pushes our cares to the background for just awhile.

More than 2,000 years ago, in a land as torn by strife then as now, Jesus Christ came into the world. He taught a kind of faith foreign to what was common then – and far from accepted by all now.

Have faith in God’s love and forgiveness, Jesus taught. And on earth, above all else, be compassionate toward others. Win others to the faith not by force of arms but with love, the Savior advised.

Tonight, the very faith we will celebrate tomorrow brings to Christians a warmth and contentment that banishes worry and weariness. It is Christmas Eve. The words and music of beloved carols steal into our hearts:

Oh little town of Bethlehem,

how still we see thee lie.

Above thy deep and dreamless sleep

the silent stars go by.

Yet in thy dark streets shineth

the everlasting light.

The hopes and fears of all the years

are met in thee tonight.

So it is with Christians this very evening, as it was two millennia ago. We relax a bit after the hustle and bustle of getting ready for the big day. As the hour grows later, our thoughts turn away from the celebration and to the reason for it.

Ours is not a religion of harsh passions that tear at our very souls, but one of peace and contentment. Tonight, as the dark and quiet sooth us, we think of that most cherished of carols – the one with words and music that could have been written about how we feel:

Silent night, holy night

All is calm, all is bright.

Merry Christmas.

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