By Sarah Levesque (Rated G)
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Don’t you think? This song just about always puts a big smile on my face, which can only be topped when I hear “Feliz Navidad.” What is it about Christmas music that can steer our emotions so effectively? Sure, all music can do this, but I feel it most deeply with Christmas music. Whether it’s excitement from “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” or yearning from “Merry Christmas, Darling,” or that deep peace when I have a gentle instrumental version of “Silent Night” and others in the background, it affects me profoundly. It is this the same peace I feel while staring at the slowly blinking tree lights in the semidarkness, or when I hear that great line: “Peace on Earth, goodwill to men,” for in that moment I am relaxed, unworried, supremely joyful and feeling a great love for all.
This is what Christ came into the world to bring – peace, love, and joy. But it’s hard to experience this in these modern times when Christmas seems to be about getting presents and giving people items that make the giver feel good. Thankfully, family and friends are still emphasized in modern Christmas, but I’m always reminded of Alfred’s line in Miracle on 34th Street: “There’s a lotta bad ‘isms out there, but one of the worst is commercialism. Make a buck, make a buck. Even in Brooklyn it’s the same!” Now, I have no idea why Brooklyn should have been any different; it seems the same everywhere in America, if not beyond.
It is my sincerest wish that for this one season this year – Advent through Epiphany (if not longer!) – that we try to do as my mom did when I was growing up. By planning in advance, she tried to make sure that during this Christmas season, we could relax and be peaceful, without running around shopping and trying to squeeze in activities all day. No, at Christmastime we stayed home, especially in the evenings, and we read, played quietly, watched the slowly blinking lights, and listened to the peaceful music. If we were lucky, we might have gotten to watch one of the classic Christmas cartoons – Rudolph, Frosty and the others. The peace of those nights was profound, and I shall never forget it. The only other place I find that peace is in Eucharist Adoration, where I’m sitting silently at the feet of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. This cannot be a coincidence – who can give peace better than God himself, whether it is from the manger or from the Eucharist? May we seek Him this Christmas season, and may we find Him and allow Him to still us, to silence us, and to wrap us in His glorious peace.