The best prayers at Christmas are joy and laughter. (Do you think that God doesn’t laugh? Do you really believe — if you believe at all — that whatever Spirit guides you doesn’t enjoy watching us being happy?)

What word comes closest to describing the gleam in a child’s eye? What phrase becomes the colors of green and red that float like garland in the air? What feeling is this picture we hold so dear — of when we were young, and the spirit of Christmas danced in our hearts like angels and fairies and wishes come true?

It begins with a whisper, with a child turning his head toward the bedroom window in his sleep, with his eyes opening to the sound of the wind nudging a branch against the glass. And the sound becomes the muffled rise of voices in the hall, stocking feet shuffling across the floor in the living room, the dog barking at the glitter from the quaking tinsel, toilets flushing and phones ringing with the voices of loved ones far away.

In the silent hours at the bottom of the night; when the air is soft and slow and filled with many dreams… If my mind is quiet and my eyes are keen… If chance is on my side and the time is right, I hear the melodies of Christmas, of songs for peace and songs for joy, and silly songs for Santa Claus. I see a spattering of stars and fat men made of snow, and boys and girls with stocking caps and purple noses and fuzzy mittens…

There is sparkle in the air! Angels are among us, and hide themselves in children. Mothers are the mangers of Bethlehem; they cradle us, they gather our tears between their breasts. Fathers are wise, and quiet and strong. And I am young again, and for a moment too shy to call my own, I have raised my eyes to Heaven for a Christmas memory.

God bless the Christmas-filled home. In the cabin by the sea, where the old woman sits before the fire; in the rigid house filled with many rooms, where the proud man sips his brandy; in the little cottage, where babes are laid to rest in cribs of feathered down; on the sea and on the land, wherever men and women of good will find their way through life in the arms of each other, or in the comfort of a love once dear. Christmas lives where strong men lift things and brave women make things, and people everywhere work hard to live good lives.

Let the people dance and sing for Christmas! Let them pray for kindness. Show them how noble it is to be humble. Give our children courage, our elders mercy and our leaders wisdom.


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