Last Christmas Eve I was sitting in our cozy home when I felt a tug to go to a downtown church for the Christmas Eve service. I got my topcoat and keys and headed out. Kyle and Hannah went along. It was perfect. Snow was falling in the city.
The service was everything you could expect of a Christmas Eve service. The people were friendly and warm. Everyone dressed for the season. The choir was delightful. The pastor was at his best. The children’s choir was perfect. It was a candlelight service. At the close of the service we extinguished our candles. We put on our coats and scarves and gloves and hats. On the way out we extinguished the candles and stepped through the thick solid wood doors into the winter night.
Snow was falling, thicker now. It was coming down in heavy flakes like you see in a Christmas movie. Just as we stepped though the door the chimes began to peel out over the City as if to say in celebration, “Christ is Born. Christ is Born. What sorrow or sickness or sinfulness can ultimately prevail. Christ is born!” The scene before us was like a Currier and Ives Christmas card. My son and I exchanged a wordless look of understanding. It was spectacular. It was perfect.
Just as we stepped into the night a woman walking behind me blurted out, “Oh, that’s just great. More snow. I’ve seen enough snow already for a full year.”
I felt irritation and then pity. I looked at my son again and smiled. He looked back and shook his head. Later in the car he said, “She missed a perfect Christmas Eve Moment.”
“She did, Kyle. That is so sad,” I said.
If this night didn’t stir up any spirit in her something must be wrong. Like a bird with a broken wing her spirit must have been grounded. She had just experienced the ancient story of the incarnation of God for man. She had just sung ancient, sacred carols of the advent and the gospel. She had just seen childrens faces awash in candlelight. Good tidings of great joy for all people were still ringing in her ears. All that was capped by one of the most ideal Christmas moments I have ever experienced. I had to wonder what circumstances and decisions would make a woman so dead to wonder that she could overlook the obvious beauty of such a moment.
It’s almost Christmas. Be alive to life and love and wonder. It really is everywhere you look.
Riverfront Character Inn
December 20, 2004