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Twas’ the Night

December 24, 2010

Twas’ the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…. I used to love the magic of Christmas.  When I was a child it seemed there was always snow for Christmas, even if there wasn’t.  There was always peace on earth and good will toward men, even if there wasn’t.  I didn’t notice strife on Christmas.  All I knew was Jesus was born and Santa was coming.  At that age both of them were equally real and wonderful.

In my hometown, things were lively.  I used to love to walk the streets in the evening with the snow crunching under my boots, listening to the music being broadcast from the speakers atop Zeitler’s Hardware Store–it was a sign that the Christmas season was officially here.  There were three strands of massive ornaments and lights strung on main street in the middle of town—one at our only intersection by my Aunt Cecil’s Country Store, one in front of Zeitler’s Hardware, and one by Louis’ Standard Gas Station.  I thought they were the best decorations a town could have.

I used to love those walks.  It was always so calm and quiet, with only the Christmas music to disturb the silence of those winter nights.  Of course, Santa would always arrive in town on the back of a truck with bags containing fruit, peanuts, candy and a small toy for all the children.  Then everyone you knew went to church on Christmas Eve for the children’s play.  You would stand at the front and say your small part.

People would laugh with delight at seeing their children perform, no matter how many times they forgot the words to the songs or their parts.  After the service was over, we would all get a bag of goodies and a little gift.  Then it was off to home to open one present on Christmas Eve, while the rest sat before you as big as life waiting to be ripped open Christmas morning.   Off to bed we would go, and I would dream of one day riding in Santa’s sleigh.

And then suddenly, Christmas morning would arrive!  Racing downstairs I would rush toward the tree, only to find that Grandpa and Grandma weren’t there yet, and I would have to wait.  Oh! The wait!  But, shortly after an eternity they would arrive and then it was time!  Time to open the presents all wrapped in colorful paper with fancy bows.  It seemed like Christmas lasted forever when I was small.  Oh, how I wish I were small once again.

Christmas is different now that I’ve grown.
The magic is gone; the mystery known.
I was depressed a long time when I discovered I wasn’t going to ride in that sleigh,
And that Santa won’t ever be coming Christmas day.
Times they’ve changed.
The world’s not a safe place.
Then again, it probably wasn’t when I was little either, I just didn’t notice it on anyone’s face.
We sang songs, and made cookies.
The place was full of cheer.
It seemed Christmas day was an eternity, with everyone near.
Oh, how I long for that feeling again.
The wonder, the magic, I didn’t want it to end!
But, maybe, just maybe, it hasn’t gone away.
I sometimes forget the baby that God sent us that day.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the pace,
That sometimes the Christ-child loses His rightful place.
Ah, now I remember the babe that was born,
The One who grew to be a man, whose body was torn.
Torn and broken for you and for me.
To save us all from death; to set us all free.
Christmas is different now that I’ve grown.
The magic, the mystery of life made known.

Merry Christmas!

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