There is no ideal Christmas; only the one Christmas you decide to make as a reflection of your values, desires, affections, traditions.
--Bill McKibben, Author, Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case For a More Joyful Christmas.
The house lights go off and the footlights come on. Even the chattiest stop chattering as they wait in darkness for the curtain to rise. In the orchestra pit, the violin bows are poised. The conductor has raised his baton. In the silence of a midwinter dusk, there is far off in the deeps of it somewhere a sound so faint that for all you can tell it may be only the sound of the silence itself. You hold your breath to listen…The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment.
Frederick Buechner, Whistling in the Dark, pp. 2,3