On Christmas Eve more than 2,000 years ago, it was a peaceful, silent night.
Israelite shepherds were "abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night" before they saw the star.
Later that evening, they were encircled about by the glory of God. They heard an angel declare the birth of Jesus, traveled to the manger to see the Savior and then returned rejoicing to their flocks.
For as long as I can remember, my family modeled our Christmas Eve after the shepherds'.
It always began with a candlelight "shepherd's supper," which usually consisted of French bread, summer sausage and several varieties of cheese. Of course, no Jewish shepherd of that time was eating pork (or cheddar cheese for that matter), yet the message of the humble meal always managed to bring our family together and turn our minds to the night Christ was born.
After our shepherd's supper, we moved into the living room for a special family night. My dad had a fire going in the fireplace, and one of us ran to plug in the lights on the Christmas tree.
Deviating from the lessons, games and treats of most weeks, of our normal family nights, this night was reserved for inspiring stories and testimonies of Christ and Christmas. It was not uncommon for my sisters to work for weeks preparing their piano pieces to perform on Christmas Eve.
After combing through volumes of Christmas stories to find the perfect one, my dad would share a Christmas story and mom usually read a poem. Of course, we all sang Christmas hymns together.
In a way, we did what we would do if we knew Christ was coming in the morning.
My siblings and I have moved away from home and started our own families, but we have all carried on the tradition of the shepherd's supper.
While Christmas Day brings presents and celebrations, Christmas Eve is a holy night. On that night we remember Christ, whose birth was declared by an angel to humble shepherds so many years ago.
Dallin Kimble lives in Queen Creek, Ariz.