Last night my husband and I attended the midnight candlelight service at our local church. We are not Christian. We are an interfaith family that draws from the good and collective beauty of many faiths. I lit the candle of the retired art professor standing behind me (who always kisses me on my head and makes me feel like an abundantly loved daughter), in the still of the night, in that little chapel, and we sang Silent Night. And I wept.
I wept as I was overcome with the sheer acceptance I felt embraced by my little community. I wept as I imagined weary travelers finding respite in a manger, igniting a flicker of goodness and love still burning in the hearts of humankind thousands of years later. I wept for the pure hope I felt in my own heart at that precise moment: That light would always shine on darkness. That peace would always overcome war. That love would always transcend hatred. This must be the true meaning of Christmas that everyone has been talking about.