Oh, little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by
Yet, in thy dark streets shineth, the everlasting light.
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above;
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.
Oh, morning stars together, proclaim thy holy birth.
And praises sing to God the king, and peace to men on earth.
Last night, neighbors and young adults came to our front door to sing Christmas carols! Christmas Eve was particularly difficult for me as this was the first Christmas that we actually put up a natural tree in our family room since 2016. The boxes of ornaments had not been touched in 5 years and each one held a specific tie to my late son. I sat and cried several times as we were decorating and we did not put up all the ornaments because we were depressed. Then, after dinner, we attended a live-streamed Christmas Eve service and about half-way through the streaming was cut off – in the midst of “O Holy Night”! We tried going in and out of the streaming about 5-6 times and finally gave up trying. Then, the carolers came to the door. After they sang for us, a neighbor asked what was my favorite Christmas carol. I didn’t think that I had just one that was a favorite but the Lord nudged my husband and I to sing “O Little Town of Bethlehem” with them. The words “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight” jumped out at me as we sang.
All of us have been struggling with the pandemic, inflation, and the state of our nation today. Restrictions have not prevented the victory over the Covid virus and so many of us are fearful for the New Year. The lockdowns have prevented attending funerals of loved ones, attending weddings and graduations, and trusting one another has been severely shaken. A lot of fears and shattered dreams were present on Christmas Eve. However, despite these fears and frustrations and hopelessness that we see are eclipsed by the holy birth of Emmanuel, God with us! His coming has renewed our hopes for the future by His everlasting light! As we remember and ponder this miraculous event, we realize that Jesus Christ is forever with us in our hearts and spirits – nothing is impossible with God! He alone is able to right every wrong and give peace and joy to every heart that seeks and finds Him! Have a blessed Christmas season!