Cathy Peacock

I sat in the stillness of my warm home, with lights gently glowing all around me. The lights on the tree, the candles in the windows and the slowly burning logs in the family room fireplace all warmed my heart, as I thought about God’s incredible love for each one of us.

Listening to the words of “O Holy Night,” I found it hard to even grasp the depth and breadth of God’s amazing and unfathomable love. Our God, creator of heaven and earth, chose to send his only Son into our broken world, to save us all.

Walking out into the still dark coolness of a Christmas night, I found myself wondering what the night sky looked like and how the holy peaceful silence must have felt in Bethlehem on that first Christmas night over 2,000 years ago.

I tried very hard to silence my thoughts and just listen as I stared at the beautiful midnight sky.  The stars seemed to sparkle and the crisp air cleared the sky. Tears filled my eyes as I heard the words again, “O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining, It is the night our dear Savior’s birth.”

There is something very special about the silence on Christmas night. There is a special palpable feeling of peace, magnificent love and joyful anticipation: “All is calm, all is bright.”

For just one night, all over the world, humanity comes together in peace, waiting in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior!

Looking up to the sky, I thanked God for loving us so much, for sending his only son to save us all. On that first Christmas day, love was born into our world, in the name of Jesus Christ. From that day forward, all of humanity had access to God’s love and guidance through his son Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.

I first experienced the magnitude of God’s love and peace on Christmas night many years ago, but I still go outside every Christmas night, look up to the sky and listen to the silence.

If you are quiet, you can truly feel the magnitude and closeness of God’s love along with the magnitude of the faith, joyful hope and peace of a joint humanity, if only for that brief moment.

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ with family and friends, we find great joy in preparing a wonderful meal and finding the perfect gift to make our loved ones happy. It is also the one time of year when almost everyone becomes charitable and finds special ways to give to the poor. This is all good.

My wish and prayer for everyone who reads this is to please take the time during this Christmas season to listen to Christ. Enjoy the gift of his closeness at Mass, in the Eucharist, in adoration, in daily prayer and maybe also in the evenings as you walk outside, look up at the stars and envision that holy night in Bethlehem and try to comprehend the magnitude and depth of God’s love for us.

I share these words on silence by Cardinal Robert Sarah: “We listen in silence; humanity enters into a silence that is God … Silence is not an absence. On the contrary, it is the manifestation of a presence, the most intense of all presences” (Magnificat, December 2019, p. 288).

Blessings and best wishes to you and your loved ones this Christmas season and throughout the New Year!

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Cathy Peacock holds an M.A. in theology, is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of St. Isaac Jogues Parish in Wayne.