Good morning. My children are grown up and have long since flown the nest. All three of them were close in age and, until the oldest was ten, I could manage to carry all of them upstairs at the same time, one on my shoulders, another on my back, and the third in my arms. This, I hasten to add, only happened on Christmas Eve. As we headed up the wooden hill, I’d sing every year a little ditty that my mother used to sing for me and my brother on this night of nights. “Christmas Eve is here,” she’d sing, “and we go off to bed; as we climb the stairs, we nod our sleepy head. Take our stockings off, hang them in a row; then jump quickly into bed and off to sleep we go.” This jangle was followed by the familiar words of “Jingle Bells.” The muddle of the day, the multiplicity of jobs to be done, loose ends to be tied up, final preparations to be thought through, would always end in this simple way. Waiting was over. We’d awake to the wondrous dawn of a great new day. How, in these bewildering times, I wish I could catch an echo of the heavenly choir, filling the soul with the thought of glory in heaven and the heart with thoughts of peace on earth. The whole world yearns for nothing less. As I hauled my children up those stairs all those years ago, this was the world I wanted them to live in, that was the music I wanted them to hear. There’s no night like tonight for letting that music bring life into our souls. Glory to you in the highest heaven, dear Lord, and peace, rivers and oceans of peace, for all people alive in the troubled world around us. Amen.