Well, it’s here…Christmas Eve. By this time tomorrow, the festivities will be just about over. The gifts unwrapped, the food eaten, the libations poured. Months of hurried preparation and anticipation will wind down to a relaxing yawn and feet up on the couch.
This year is a quiet one for me, unlike years past when my kids were young. Life has evolved into a solitary calm where I have the time to ponder the meaning of this magical night. Right now there is a soothing silence, and while I’ll still recall with fondness the craziness and excitement of Christmas’s past, I’ll enjoy the contented peace of right now.
I took a walk early this Christmas Eve morning and admired the beauty of the sunrise. Amidst the pandemonium of wondering about the Christmas of this year, I turned around to walk back and spied the full moon lazily drifting into the invisibility of the morning light. With all the gaiety of the season and serious maddening rush, the fact that nature carries on serenely with the rising of the sun and setting of the moon, with birds flying, rabbits scurrying and deer peering through the brush is somehow heartening. It is ageless and has been evolving in this manner since the beginning of time.
Years and years ago on Christmas Eve, even before Andy Williams sung about “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” a poor couple made their way in the cold night, wife riding on a donkey, husband leading the way through the darkness to a stable with a manger filled with hay. A Baby was born that night without the creature comforts of a warm bed. His parents didn’t have fancy food to eat or hot chocolate to drink or a place for them to sleep comfortably. There was no music or gaiety or parties to attend. There was only the shadowed night and the sky filled with brilliantly shining stars, maybe a moon, and the warmth of the barn animals. There was the promise of the sunrise of a brand new world where Our Savior would finally bring us the supreme present of redemption.
I ask you to find time to pause this Christmas Eve and think about what this sacred night is really all about. It’s not about having the biggest, most beautifully decorated tree. It’s not about the rich foods or the sweet cookies or the egg nog or the right gifts festively wrapped and placed strategically under the tree.
It’s about somehow finding a way to give thanks to Jesus for His sacrifice of coming to this earth as a fragile Baby without the comforts of wealth, with only nature surrounding Him, in order to save us.
On this Silent Night, this Holy Night, I wish you peace and joy and the insight to be truly thankful for the ultimate gift of Jesus.