It’s Christmas Eve. The gifts are wrapped and under the tree. Christmas decorations have done their job glittering and spreading holiday cheer for the past month. Cookies have been baked and cards have been sent and received. All of the work is done and now the expectation of Christmas Day is coming. If you are paying attention on Christmas Eve, there is a moment of quiet peace before the festivities of Christmas Day. Almost a moment of reverence, reflecting the coming celebrations of the day to come. It’s Christmas Eve.
It’s Christmas Day. Today will be filled with activity and energy. Gift wrapping will be shredded from packages. Exclamations of “I love it” “Thank you, it’s just want I wanted” “How did you know I needed this?” will fill the room. All of the food prepared will be eaten and homes will be filled with laughter and joy. The last piece of pie will be eaten by my brother-in-law. Christmas Day has a totally different feel to it than Christmas Eve – at least it does to me.
It’s Christmas Eve. Joseph is doing everything he can to make Mary comfortable, but how comfortable can one be on a blanket on a cold floor. Mary is in full labor now… and as the night wanes, a Child’s first cry is heard in the sleeping village of Bethlehem, and for just a few moments Mary and Joseph experience the reverent, intimate wonder parents experience after their child is born into the world. But, of course, this is no ordinary child. “So this is He?” Mary thinks as she looks into the face of a Savior… her savior… her son. Christmas Eve has become Christmas Day.
It’s Christmas Day. The stable door creaks open slowly, and kind but bewildered shepherds peer inside. Joseph stands protectively over Mary and the baby, but Mary smiles and motions for them to enter. Awkwardly they kneel before the child who is just a few minutes old… shyly they peer into his wrinkled face. Enthusiastically, they tell the story of an Angelic Choir exploding upon their night watch as the reason for their visit. And as dawn begins to extend its glow over Bethlehem, the tiny village awakens, oblivious that the greatest event in the history of humanity has taken place.
It’s Christmas Eve. Have you taken time to reflect on the wonder of Jesus’ birth like Mary and Joseph? Have you sought him out as those shepherds did? Have you spent any time kneeling before him? Don’t miss the reverence before the celebration. Don’t miss the True Gift before you open your own Christmas gifts. Don’t miss peace before the joy. Don’t miss the anticipation found in Christmas Eve. It’s Christmas Eve.