When you think about it, Christmas Eve is a much more interesting day than Christmas...assuming one is not immersed in last minute shopping. There's anticipation, there's reflection, there's wonder.
Anyway, here's my column from the Western Tribune on this Christmas Eve:
We hear a lot about the “magic of Christmas,” but by Christmas Day much of the magic is gone. For many families that celebrate Christmas the day begins in a whirlwind of ribbons and bows as kids rip open presents, and ends driving home from Grandma’s exhausted and full of ham and coconut cake.
There is nothing magic about that. It’s fun and it’s heartwarming, but not magic.
No, the magic has already happened, and like good magic, you don’t see it. In fact, magic may be the wrong word to describe it. “Wonder” is a better word to describe Christmas Eve.
For children, they know the next day will be full of surprise, and they go to bed full of wonder, listening for sleigh bells and the patter of feet on the roof, a sound that any other night of the year would result in a 911 call.
For adults there is a bit of scurrying to do after children go to bed, but then it’s time to relax and wonder.
With or without spiked eggnog, this can be done by lowering the lights and staring at the Christmas tree, reminiscing about our childhood Christmases or thinking about loved ones who for one reason or another will not be here to celebrate with us.
Others might sit outside and stare at the heavens and wonder how shepherds might have reacted long ago on a cold night when a star seemed to explode in the sky.
That same night Mary’s heart and mind were certainly full of wonder as the pains of her labor began.
She knew that her baby would be precious, as all mothers do, but she had been told with certain authority that her child would reign over a kingdom that has no end. Can you imagine?
As Joseph held his baby son, he had to wonder what his role would be, how a simple man like himself could raise a king, how he could be a father to the son of God, when the child was not even of his flesh. We would all put greater effort into raising our children if we took to heart what Joseph did.
The wonder of Christmas, that a baby could change the world. A glorious light has dawned indeed. That’s something worth wondering about.