My daddy does this thing that I have adopted. “happy day before the day before the day before you’re birthday”. This can begin at any point before the day itself. It brings about a since of anticipation and excitement that the event is special enough to be celebrated so much. Holidays are special days like that as well. ” Happy day before the day before thanksgiving. “
Before Christmas is extra precious.
The whole Christmas season is about the anticipation. There is a huge countdown calendar at the front of Walmart. Today it read, “Days til Christmas: 01”
As soon as Thanksgiving is over, sometimes even as soon as Halloween is passed, the stores prepare for Christmas. Presents are advertised everywhere. Houses begin to light up with Christmas decorations and often lit trees can be seen through living room windows. Holiday parties take place with office workers or sun school classes or friends and family. Season specials come on TV. Rudolf and Charlie Brown for instance. Salvation Army bells ring. Opryland hotel is decorated and lit inside out. The toys aisles grow crowded. Radios play more and more Christmas songs. Churches order and display poinsettias. Christmas musicals are performed. The nativity is presented in many ways- a play, in postcards, living nativities, outdoor displays, small ones on the mantle.
This is all before Christmas. The eve of Christmas Eve.
Tonight is the real deal though. Christmas Eve is here. Children are trying to sleep,anxious about the things that lie ahead. Full of excitement about what Santa will bring them. Yet I want to remember the nativity and the gospel that this night brings. I look at the mantle and see where my son has carefully placed all the wise men, shepherds, and animals huddled around looking at the baby Jesus. I think of a statue of Santa my mom has kneeling before the manger. I want to remember when we give gifts in the morning that these gifts are all from the Father, and that Jesus as our Lord is the greatest gift of all. Amazing, on His birthday, He gave us this gift. When I look in the manger I see a man destined for the cross and when I see the cross that is supposed to stand for death, I see life. Zoe life.
“Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.”