Christmas Eve is a night of silence.
The sanctity of the night goes beyond even religion. It’s one night in a span of nights in the coldest, darkest time of the year — long swaths of darkness hovering around the solstice, wrapping the world in cold. Regardless of your religious beliefs, you feel the gravity of it — the sun sinking and then the world turning inward. The craving of warmth and of light. The deep, peaceful quiet.
For those of Christian leanings — or of Christian culture but secular beliefs — it’s a time of strong tradition and great power.
Did you know that on Christmas Eve 1914, in the middle of the blood and horror that was the first World War, the soldiers on both sides of the trenches stopped fighting and sang Christmas carols together in the night? Men who would resume fighting each other when the holiday passed, men side by side who would either survive or who would have their blood and guts spilled on the dirt — all of them raising their voices together. A great truce was called, soldiers crossed enemy lines, and the holiday was celebrated together, not as enemies but as comrades and friends.
It was a humanizing moment. Death was still that day and that night.
The power of Christmas — the tradition of it — is something that spans centuries. If you come from a Christian heritage, your blood has been observing this night for millennia. Those who lived on the same land upon which you live, those who lived in and built your hometown, those who built the things around you — they celebrated it too. Who are your heroes? What great men and women do you look up to as having reached the height of achievement, the ideal for a human to reach? If they’re of Christian heritage, they too felt the gravity of this night.
For all who are of our culture, there has been the experience of Christmas Eve.
Take time to sit in silence tonight — sit in the warm, soft glow of the lights on the Christmas tree, a candle, a fireplace, perhaps lights on the snow, and just feel the weight of the silence. Feel the connection to all of those who have come before and all of those who are living it currently, all feeling the same warmth and the same silence.
That’s part of the point of tradition — to draw us all together: those who came before, those living now, and those who will come after.
Embrace the silence of this night.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas.