Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Eve of Christmas Eve

I remember that when I was young--very young, like 8-ish, that the longest day of the year seemed to be the day before Christmas Eve. Yes, Christmas Eve could be long too, but at least there were activities planned, like church, which provided mile markers along the pathway of the day.

The day before Christmas Eve, however, has no such mile markers to guide the day along and see it to a successful conclusion and transform the season from anticipation to almost here. I note that the local schools are mostly open today--and that is good for the kids, it will help them not to dwell on the "you can almost reach out and touch it" aspect of Christmas being upon us. 

I do not get into the Christmas spirit until very late in the season. Usually, my favorite day to shop is Christmas Eve because there is a feeling of magic and a sense of "this is it" watching the other shoppers scurry around. I remember working in the clothing store in Ithaca, NY, while I was in high school on Christmas Eves--the store had been open for almost two weeks straight until 9 PM, (except for Sundays when it was closed and Saturdays when closing was still 5PM) that was four hours longer than the normal closing time. I always noticed a change in the shoppers and the staff about noon--as the impending holiday grew closer.

But, the day before Christmas Eve has no sense of finality associated with it. There is still Christmas Eve out there if something needs to get done. Today, for instance, I have to slug to work--being sick and had this been a normal week I would have taken another sick day because I am feeling only about 60 percent--but with Christmas Eve tomorrow and I will be on leave and holiday for almost two weeks, I have a lot of loose ends to tie up. Somewhere in there the meat for Christmas dinner is waiting at the store--I have to purchase it and get in ready for the upcoming feast. 

And then Chris and I need to finalize the breakfasts, dinners, and create the agenda for Christmas Eve and prepare to plow into Christmas which has become a full two-day family celebration which begins with breakfast on Christmas Eve and does not end until after the last present is opened and dinner is complete sometime about 5PM on Christmas Day. 

So for me, Christmas Eve Eve has become Christmas Eve--because everything begins happening tomorrow as the season of preparation transforms into the season of joy and understanding that the most important gift was the one that we first received. You can read about it in Galatians 4:4-5

Say Merry Christmas to someone you meet--it will make them smile!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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