Christmas Eve, makes me remember when I was a child and December 24th would arrive. I think Christmas Eve has always been my favorite. Don't get me wrong. Presents have always been great so Christmas Morning was the ultimate, but Christmas Morning was the last day. Once the gifts were unwrapped, the anticipation was over. Christmas Eve, however, was the height of anticipation. There was electricity in the air! As a child I felt like Christmas Day would never come and Christmas Eve seemed to last forever. But it was fun. We always got a gift on Christmas Eve. Some little something to take the edge off so to speak. Ironically the one gift I remember the best from a childhood Christmas Eve was the one I received in bed because I had the stomach flu. Stomach flu had gone thru just about everyone and I was one of the last on the roster. I had recovered by Christmas Day, but was still shaky. Anyway, I got a Charlie Brown...how would you say? It was like a magnetic board, but it wasn't magnetic. It was slick and it had little slick Charlie Brown Characters you could attach in any way you wanted in order to create a scene. Not a big elaborate gift, but it did the trick.
Christmas Eve was the best after bed time. The one time of year children will willingly go to bed and try to sleep. In order to keep us 5 kids in line, Christmas Eve was the time all the kids slept in the same room with our oldest sister watching us. We had electric candles in the window and my mom would have multiple colors of lights in them. We got to leave the candles on and the result was surreal. There was little to no sleep....for us or our parents. My poor parents were up just about the whole night getting everything out. I (We, Daddy I wasn't the only one regardless of what they say) was up the whole night worrying my parents were still going to be awake and Santa wouldn't stop (Bad parents! lol), or sneaking out to the hall to peer into the darkness (again Daddy I wasn't the only one) in the hopes we could see something after our parents turned the lights off and went to bed. Needless to say 5 am was a perfectly logical time to drag my sister and subsequently our parents out of the bed to start Christmas Day.
As the years have passed my Christmases have changed. No longer a child myself, I would see Christmas through the eyes of my children. Wide eyed wonder at the lights, Santa, the presents, etc. Now my Children are adults themselves. My daughter and her husband have the joy of seeing Christmas in their children's eyes. Christmas has changed for us again. Now it is really more of a spiritual celebration. I still love the giving and receiving of gifts, but my focus turns more toward why we give those gifts.
This year, as I laid out the Nativity, it just so happened O Holy Night was playing on Pandora. The Nativity ended up being laid out with tears. I couldn't help but Praise God for this precious gift. Over 2000 years ago, on another Christmas Eve, the world held its breath in anticipation of the child to be born on Christmas Day. I guess anticipation has always been a major part of Christmas, only the first Christmas never ended with the coming of Christmas day. Instead it became the beginning of everything.