On Christmas Eve, the bells were rung;
On Christmas Eve, the mass was sung.
The damsel donned her kirtle sheen,
the hall was dressed with holly green;
All hail'd with uncontroll'd delight,
And general voice the happy night
That to the cottage, as the crown,
Brought tidings of salvation down.
Things weren't always so pleasant, however. On Christmas Eve, 1521, with the Reformation gaining steam in Germany, crowds rioted in Wittenberg. Against the orders of Elector Frederick, Andreas Carlstadt had given them both the bread and wine at mass. Zealous for more "reformation," the mob smashed church lamps, sang ridiculous songs to drown out the choir and intimidated the priests. Luther is supposed to have cut the first Christmas tree. The story may be apocryphal, but we know that on Christmas Eve, 1538, he was in a jolly mood, singing and talking about the incarnation. Then he sighed, saying, "Oh, we poor men, that we should be so cold and indifferent to this great joy which has been given us."Despite Luther's lament, others would make warm memories on Christmas Eve. In his memoirs, Sir John Reresby told how he invited his poor tenants for a feast on Christmas Eve, 1682. During World War I, the famous Christmas Truce began for many troops on Christmas Eve, 1914, demonstrating the power for good that is inherent in the season. For a season that is so celebratory....you know Santa, a special baby being born, family and friends.....it was startling to me to see that Christmas has had some not so spectacular things happen on it. As you begin your day....hug your loved ones, enjoy the magic of the moment, say a prayer for those who are sick or away from their families right now....and be a little kinder to everyone! Merry Christmas Eve to All!