In the quiet calm of a dimly lit building interior, the soft sound of holiday music echoes through the narrow hallways. The day before Christmas is far spent, the presents are carefully spread under the glistening tree back home. The children are asleep in their respective rooms, barely! Dad will work this night-shift like so many others, yet none can compare to this once a year special night.
It is break time and the few remaining workers make there way to a small table filled with sandwiches, homemade cookies, pies and the like. The smell of freshly made hot cocoa and much needed coffee wafts through the air.The large window at the front of the room becomes the gathering point for those who sacrifice the norms of society for the overnight work that someone must do.
The view from the window draws you away for a moment. The cumulus clouds on the horizon yield up the soft white snow that stories are made of. The streets are covered as the obscured moonlight reflects on the flakes that fall gently from above. Christmas lights dazzle as they blink and glow as far as the eye can see.
Anticipation builds as the heart yearns to be home in the comfort and company of a loving family.
As this night-shift ends, there is a sense of urgency. There is the determined yet careful drive home over snow covered roads. Though they’ve been awake for some time, Mom has kept them waiting, barely! As Christmas morning dawns, the fresh white snow shines in the light of the new day. Memories flash through the mind of times gone by. The sounds of brightly colored paper tearing at the hands of a young child many years ago.
The car comes to a stop in the unplowed driveway as the snow swirls around the now open car door. The quick dash to the front door of the house chills snow covered shoes, as the moisture seeps through to already cold feet. When the front door opens, shrills of excitement accompany the sound of little feet scurrying down the hallway to the living room. Mom is not far behind, and as the children run into waiting arms, Mom is heard to say “Daddy’s home!” As the family gathers around the tree, the children take turns opening their gifts, all the while urging each other to hurry in anticipation of their next turn. Amidst the smiles and camera flashes, Mom captures Dads attention, and though words are not exchanged, the look on her face trancends anything she could express vocally. This moment truly captures the meaning of “peace on earth.”
Dad will have to get some sleep soon, Christmas may come only once a year, but for those who must work on the holiday, it is a time to give thanks, and prepare for the next shift, The night shift.