The magic of waiting
When I was a kid, I was wild for Christmas.
I loved, as I still do, the music, the food, the lights, the traditions, and of course, the time spent with family opening presents on Christmas morning.
My parents went all out for Christmas for my sister and I, and it made the holiday a very special time. I couldn't wait until Christmas morning, but in some ways, Christmas Eve was an even more magical time. The last-minute wrapping of presents, baking goodies, and lighting candles in church during "Silent Night" just before walking out into the cold air. On many nights, driving home from church, I would stare up at the night sky and marvel at the stars. Somewhere out there, I knew Santa was on his way, and I often wondered how the shepherds felt, looking up at the same stars, not knowing that their lives were about to change.
There is something special about waiting, about the moment just before something significant happens. When I was a kid, I was often impatient for things, especially Christmas morning, but looking back on it, I cherish those moments on Christmas Eve even more. It was the fulfillment of a long-awaited promise, the arrival of a day that I had been waiting for for months.
It felt, I'm sure, not unlike the people of Israel felt over 2,000 years ago upon hearing the birth of Jesus. The arrival of the Savior was that much sweeter because of how long they had waited for it. That's what Advent is really about: teaching us to wait longingly for Jesus' return. On this night when we celebrate his birth in Bethlehem, let's stop to appreciate how long people waited for his coming, and not impatiently wish our current waiting to be over.
Merry Christmas Eve!