Yes! I had my moment, my favorite Christmas moment. It happens every year. It always sneaks up on me, is never planned.
In fact, I forget all about it until it happens, and then hold it in my heart like a warm hug that sustains me, marveling that I might have missed it altogether had I not been paying attention.
It’s funny, now that I think about it, but I’m usually in the car with the kids, where I most often listen to the radio, when I hear “O Holy Night” – and then it happens! I get the chills. I feel renewed, re-energized and maybe even a little better anchored in the true spirit and purpose of Christmas. I’m not really sure what it is. Maybe it’s the power of the music, or the power of these particular lyrics? Or maybe it’s the laughing with the kids, some years, when my voice cracks in an effort to hang in there with Mariah or some other songbird on the highest of the high notes (which sometimes I do!).
This year was no different, except my two loves (no matter that they’re both taller – and, in my newly bearded-boy’s case, way more hairy) dozed, sleepy from the holiday hustle-and-bustle. They napped in the dark car as others zipped past and I sang another verse:
“A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new glorious morn
Fall on your knees
O hear the angels’ voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
O night divine o night
O night divine.”
Weary kids, and weary world, indeed. This year, with news of sweeping changes piling higher than the highest of snowbanks, the world feels wearier to me than ever before. I’m not a religious person, but, oh, how I do believe we need the magic of Christmas, and of Santa (which Mom always says is the spirit of loving and giving in our hearts) even more this year. I think our children feel the need, too. The first one up, I notice Holly tiptoes downstairs, plugs in the Christmas tree lights and sits in its glow every morning before school. Maybe that’s her “moment”? I love that my girl anchors herself in the light every morning. There’s a darkness that needs overcoming, some real work we must do, and I believe the light in our hearts will show us the way.
“Now the Work of Christmas Begins,” a poem composed by Howard Thurman, an African-American theologian, educator and civil rights leader, speaks directly to that effort:
“When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.”
Yes! In spite of illusions to the contrary, THIS is Christ-mas. So let’s do this. Let’s gift our children with our example, and with the knowledge that they have voices and votes and are powerful enough to make the world a better place in 2018, and let’s do this.
Jennifer DuBose lives in Batavia with her family. Her column runs regularly in the Kane Weekend section of the Kane County Chronicle. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.