I was eight years old that Christmas eve. We were not going to church and that was O.K. with me, because I found it hard to behave for a solid hour.
But I had this strange inner urge…to do something. Christmas Eve. They said Jesus was born in a manger with animals around, so where better to go on Christmas Eve than to the Magic Barn?
It was snowing-soft, fast flakes. Perfect. The animals woke up when I entered the barn; they were blinking and confused but not startled. I petted the velvety noses of the horses to reassure them and whispered, “Merry Christmas.” But the magic I was seeking was not in the barn-it must be beyond the barn.
I walked through the corral and the orchard, hands jammed deep in my pockets for warmth, but it must be beyond the orchard, too. I crossed the frozen stream and through the clearing and came to the edge of the woods. How far would I keep walking until I found it? I didn’t even know what it was that had called me out here.
It was dark, past my bedtime, but I could see surprisingly far in the bluish light reflected by the snow: the clearing, the tree line, even a pale yellow dot that was the distant neighbor’s porch light. It was so quiet.
“Silent night,” I thought. But wait, it wasn’t silent. When I got very, very still, I was amazed that I could hear the snow fall. “Ssssssssss,” was the sound, very soft. I never heard the snow fall before. Or since. I felt…God…Life, all around me, time stood still and I felt wrapped in the arms of forever-ness. I knew that I was part of something very good.
When Life calls you, go. But remember, unless you get very, very still, you will just keep walking in the night and miss it.