Night of Nights - Sunday, December 24, 2017
Christmas traditions vary throughout the world. Some people light candles. Some hang wreaths. Some set out delicious meals and tasty treats on beautifully decorated tables. Every culture adds its beautiful, rich flavor to the Christmas season. But there’s one thing that seems to be common in nearly all Christmas celebrations—families gathering at the hearth and home. Yes, there’s something about Christmas that brings families together.
And when those families gather, very many of them read a story together on Christmas Eve. It’s the story of a young mother who long ago lay her newborn baby in manger. It’s a story about shepherds in a far-off field who heard a chorus of angels heralding the birth of the babe in Bethlehem. It’s a story about wise men who had faith enough to follow a new star across great distances, trusting that it would lead them to the young child.
In hushed tones and with tender hearts, families share their feelings about that special night so long ago. They imagine what it would have felt like to visit the manger with those shepherds or see the wise men arrive with their gifts. They marvel at the “good tidings of great joy.” They rejoice at the promise of “peace, good will toward men.” And like the shepherds, they offer glory and praise “for all the things that they [have] heard and seen.”1
It seems fitting that this story, repeated every year, is about a family. Whether our loved ones are near or far at Christmas, they feel close when we remember that night of nights—when heaven came to earth, time seemed to stand still, and nothing would ever be quite the same again. No wonder we deck the halls and put up lights. No wonder we celebrate, rejoice, and give gifts to remind us of the greatest gift ever given. No wonder we find ways to gather with those we love to remember that first Christmas night—the night when a family gathered to celebrate love, hope, and peace on earth.
-Lloyd D. Newell
1. Luke 2:10, 14, 20.
December 24, 2017
Broadcast Number 4,606
Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square
A Christmas Carol, from Scrooge
Leslie Bricusse; arr. Michael Davis
Ding Dong! Merrily on High
French carol; arr. Mack Wilberg
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
English carol; arr. Andrew Unsworth
Irish carol; arr. Mack Wilberg
O Come, All Ye Faithful
Attributed to John F. Wade; arr. Mack Wilberg
Hallelujah, from Messiah
George Frideric Handel