Silent Night, Holy Night
So here it is, the Friday afternoon before Christmas, and I'm here alone at the radio station. Now, this is not a complaint or a cry for pity, it's actually somewhat by design. For the last several years, I have been the last person out. Now I'm not the only one working now, I'm fairly certain that I have colleagues still laboring at our other studios and facilities in another town, but for the facility here in town, it's just me.
It's quiet here as I get everything ready to run for the Christmas holiday with, hopefully, little need for us to run in and fix something (best laid plans, you know). And as I write this I took my own advice and have turned down the news and commentary that is being broadcast, turned on some soft Christmas music (of course) and am enjoying the calmness and solitude as I put things to bed for another busy December. No, we're not done. We do get some time off for the week between Christmas and New Years, but at least one of us will be around most every day except for the days our company declares a company holiday. It's quiet, and I love it.
The reason I love the time of quiet entering the holiday is because of an experience I had several years ago. It's a personal thing, and, I suppose happened just for my benefit. In relating this, please understand my purpose is not to persuade, convert, or proselytize you to my or any belief system. No it's just something that has helped me along as I struggle down the pathways of life.
I don't think it's telling tales out of school to say that Christmas day at our house tends to lean towards the chaotic. I know this is not an uncommon situation, and maybe you can relate. Lots of joy, laughter and enthusiasm for the activity of the day. And, delightfully, this continues today. And it's fun and joyful and something I do look forward to, especially now that we have a newer generation of family to celebrate with. Of course, I'm expected to play the role of the family curmudgeon.
Well, it was Christmas Eve, and we had finally got children down for the night, and had, as best as we could, prepared everything for Christmas morning. As we retired to bed for a well deserved rest, I found myself tossing and turning and not able to find the sleep I sought. Not wanting to keep Tammy awake, I got up to go sit in my chair in the living room, hoping that if I read or did something else that might settle me down enough to start a sleep period. Nothing was working so I just sat there for a good while just taking in the atmosphere around me. My family was safe and at rest. It was calm and quiet on a clear winter night, just a peaceful as it could be. The minutes passed by until I was quite deep in to the overnight period.
And then an experience that I had no expectation of happening. As quiet and as peaceful as it was, everything seemed to dial up by a factor of 100, and I never had felt such calmness before. It was the epitome of quiet and peace, and then, it seemed that for just the briefest instant, the world came to a stop, and I mean a literal stop, and in the ultimate stillness of the moment, I heard the baby cry. Not a baby, The Baby. The One in the manger. The One in Bethlehem. And the sureness of salvation brought to the world penetrated to very center of my soul. That half instant of my life has been with me ever since.
Again, I'm not trying to bring you to my belief system, but I do have my beliefs and they are vital to me. And I just can't help but express my joy at what this season is to me. What that moment meant to me. It is the most wonderful time of the year.
A few years ago, a Christmas song I had never heard hit my playlist. It's called The Hour Before Christmas and I love it, because it expresses that that calming down of the world as we slow down after all the scurrying around of the season. The version of the song I heard was actually by the local group Due West, but I can't find their version to put here so please listen to this one.
I still see that scene so vividly in my mind. I see the chair (which has long since been replaced), the view out our back window (which has also been changed by neighborhood construction over the years). We will likely be with our family at one of our kids home for the year's Christmas celebration. But if we were home and you lived in our neighborhood, it's very likely you would see a small reading lamp on in the living room, and if you could see inside, you'd find me sitting in the chair sitting quietly...and listening. And waiting.