End of Watch

Preparations, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day followed immediately by the Feast of the Holy Family; a long stretch. Serve in the military and at some point you will “stand watch” as we would say in the Navy. Each branch of the service has its own name. The experience is the same. I think anyone who has ever stood sentry, stood watch, served during the “dog watch”, been on duty during the long hours of the night as others sleep – we all remember the dilation of time as it seemed to slow and stretch forever. Biding time. Scanning for the first glimmers of light through the long shade of night. The tiring body, the yawns, talking to one’s self… and then the morning star pushed the first light over the horizon, slowly glowing, pushing back the night, and painting the world with a new day. At last, duty is done and one reports in to command, “Lord, now let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled…

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