Today is Christmas Eve, one of the most magical nights of the year. Even though my kids know the secret of Santa, I am looking forward to seeing their faces when they see what he has brought them. I remember Christmas Eve with such fondness. As a child, THIS was my Christmas. Christmas Day was fine and all, and of course, I wanted to see what Santa had sent. But, Christmas Eve was magical. It was the anticipation of Santa, the retelling of the story of Jesus and the presence of my family that wrapped my soul up like a warm hug every December 24.
Over time, as my family expanded, cousins married, new traditions were made and people moved, our family had to reconsider our Christmas Eve celebration. We moved it from Dec. 24 to just any Saturday in Dec. when we could get together. Too large to exchange gifts, we now bring food, play games and visit. At first I resisted the date change (because after nearly 40 years on Earth, change is STILL hard for me). But as we poured together into my aunt or my mom’s home on our “Christmas Eve” date, I realized, it’s still magical.
My husband and I have a tradition as well. Each Christmas Eve, when the kids are snug in their beds and the sugarplums are dancing in their heads, he and I crack open a bottle of wine, turn on A Christmas Story, and begin our elven works of putting together whatever Santa has gifted the children this year. Afterward, provided our work doesn’t go too long, we sit snuggled on the couch together, within the glow of the Christmas tree and reminisce.
Over the past several years I’d felt increasingly let down after Christmas. I’m not sure why other than I built it up so much that I forgot to enjoy every millisecond. Last year I made a conscious decision to live in the moment of Christmas and found I was much happier at the end of the season. Being mindful at Christmas (and every day), is something I actively work on and it’s lifechanging, albeit hard to do in our busy world. If this is you too, slow down. Enjoy it in the moment. Breathe in the immediacy and don’t get too wrapped up in the next day.
I love Christmas. I love all it represents (especially Jesus). I love gift-giving. I love family time and meals. I love traditions. I love magic and Santa. I love romance. I love giggles and squeals from children. I love the crisp December air. I love my church family and the service. I love Love. Love, also known as Jesus, was born of a virgin on a silent night. A King, born in a manger, his birth heralded by angels, celebrated and attended by shepherds and later, strangers from the East. A King, born in a most humble way for a most noble cause. Truly Immanuel, God with us. Truly Love incarnate.
Much love from me to you and yours this holiday season. And God Bless us. Every one.