Anyone who knows me knows just how much I love Christmas. From the music to the food and the decorations, I can’t get enough of it. And though everyone loves Christmas morning for all of the obvious reasons (the presents under the tree!), I actually find myself preferring the day leading up to Dec. 25: Christmas Eve.
My family is not particularly religious, but we still went to church every Sunday and especially on higher holy days such as Christmas Eve. We go to the same church that my mom grew up going to and was later married in, so being there always makes me feel sentimental. Our congregation is on the smaller side, but Christmas Eve brings out so many more people and all of our members’ extended families.
Walking into the filled chapel, my eyes are always caught by the bright red poinsettias and candles that create an inviting backdrop for the service. More than anything though, I love the moment when the choir sings “Silent Night”. In recent years, my church has brought in a professional gospel singer to lead the choir and the congregants in singing the beautiful song. When all of the overhead lights go off and the chapel’s only light comes from the countless lit candles held by each attendee, I’m always overcome by a sense of calm.
The three and a half minutes it takes the choir to sing the entirety of “Silent Night” usually brings a tear to my mother’s eyes. In recent years, it has done the same for me too. It just seems that everything in the world is perfect during those three and a half minutes, or at least that everything can be perfect.
I know when people think of Christmas and Christmas songs, they most likely won’t name “Silent Night” when asked their favorite song, but the fond memories and nostalgia it raises for me make hearing it my favorite part of the holiday season.