The Richmond Register

December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve, the most sacred day of all

By Dick Ham
Register Columnist


I was just thinking the other day about this edition of Just Thinking and the fact that it will arrive at your home on Christmas Eve.

It seems to me that Christmas Eve is always the most likely day in the Christmas season to be very sacred and holy.

Many communities will celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season with parades, tree lighting ceremonies, parties with music and goodies.

If they have something on Christmas Eve, it is likely that it will be quiet and reverent with suitable words spoken and appropriate music. The most beautiful Christmas Eve services will be found in churches. Dramas, readings and scripture designed to uplift the name of our Savior.

I was responsible for planning many of those services when I was a full-time minister, and we always scheduled the beginning of the celebration early enough to be able to do an adequate job and permit families to go home and have a meal, open gifts etc.

On many occasions, we closed the service in this manner. We provided everyone in attendance with a candle. After candles had been lighted, we sang together all the stanzas of “Silent Night.”

When we came to the final stanza we gradually took the lights down and finished with candlelight only. As we sang the words, “Wondrous star lend thy light,” everyone lifted their candle. We then exited the Sanctuary in total silence and with just enough light to be safe.

As a kid growing up in the south end of Louisville, in the shadow of Churchill Downs, my family celebrated Christmas in a most joyous way. We were poor, although we didn’t realize it. We were like all our friends and neighbors.

Gifts were small but given with a great deal of love. The main celebration for us was a small, beautifully decorated tree, a family gathering in front of the tree on Christmas Eve and a wonderful Christmas meal on Christmas Day.

I honestly wonder if anyone ever enjoyed Christmas as much as my dad. We would sit on the floor in front of the tree and Dad would carefully explain the reason for Christmas. He wouldn’t permit anything to interfere with that.

Then we opened gifts, one at a time, being careful to say thanks to the giver. When that was over, Mom would go to the piano and we would spend a lot of time singing the sacred carols of the season.

Thank you, God, for sending Jesus to make our lives whole.


Calories: Tiny creatures that live in your closet and sew your clothes a little bit tighter every night.


What are nurses paid to do?


I have enough money to last me the rest of my life if I don’t have to buy anything.