While praying this morning, I closed my eyes and saw a starlit midnight sky. I knew it was Christmas Eve, and everyone everywhere could feel the closeness of God’s love and the peace of a united humanity, if only for that moment.
Immediately, the first verse of “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” came into my head: “It came upon the midnight clear, that glorious song of old, From angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold. Peace on the earth, goodwill to men, from heaven’s all gracious king, The world in solemn stillness lay to hear the angels sing.”
I remembered writing about the beauty of this holy night on Christmas Eve 2019:
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 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.”
Blessings and best wishes to you and your loved ones this Christmas season and throughout the New Year!
Please take the time to share your own faith story for a future article. Send to email@example.com. Thank you!
Cathy Peacock holds an M.A. in theology, is a Certified Public Accountant (retired) and a member of St. Isaac Jogues Parish in Wayne.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103