A few friends gather on Christmas Eve, sharing the joy of the season. Women tell stories that reveal the depths of pain and love in ordinary life. One improvises on the piano. They agree that mothers, like Mary, recognize the divine in their children. Men "pontificate" until Joseph enters the dialogue. He observes that "the subject of Christmas claims" creates a "speechless joy," soothes deep pain, gladdens the heart and eye; it was "one long affectionate kiss given to the world." The evening ends with all united in song.