It’s probably because of all the fond memories and nostalgia I have tied to Christmas Eve. The late night family parties; staying up past midnight with my sister as kids, filled with anticipation for the coming morning; presents wrapped underneath the glimmering tree; and stealing all of Santa’s cookies. These were good times.
Good times, indeed.
But I think my love for the night before Christmas goes beyond just memories. Christmas Eve has always had this…stillness to it. At least for me. Even though I have church services to attend and family gatherings, there’s this sense of silence that seems to hover over the whole day for me. The atmosphere feels different. It’s quieter. It’s the calm before the fury of unmet expectations and flying wrapping paper.
By contrast, Christmas Day is usually filled with so much — stuff. Driving, unwrapping presents, family meals, feeling guilty for overeating at family meals. There’s all of this buildup and pressure on Christmas Day. Yet Christmas Eve feels still and somber — a welcome breath — amongst the chaos of the holiday season.
I love Christmas Eve because it reminds me of the first Christmas Day.
I’m too busy on Christmas to think much about what the day represents. Between traveling between events and spending time with family, I’ve little time left to reflect on Christ entering the world — my world — my life. But on Christmas Eve, I can find time to do these things. I intentionally create space to celebrate the birth of the Savior.
I also love Christmas Eve because of what it represents.
The night before Jesus was born wasn’t just a silent night. It was the culmination of 400 years of silent nights. God had not spoken directly to His people since the book of Malachi was closed four centuries earlier. But in a few hours, the heavens would crack open and God’s Word would return to the earth — only this time it had flesh and bone stuck to it. The sky would split as angels appeared to declare the birth of the Savior for all people.
I have heard it said before that God was preparing the stage for Christ during the period of silence. Like when the curtain closes on a stage during a play, everything looks dark and sounds quiet, but behind the curtain the director is up to something. He’s setting the stage for the final act. The one that will bring everything to it’s climactic resolution.
Christmas Eve is a powerful night —a silent and holy night — because the 400 years before were also silent nights. And then the silence broke. Christmas Eve reminds me that even when all I’ve ever known has been one way — silence — God can change it with one word.
Maybe I love Christmas Eve because the silence reminds me that God is preparing to do something. Maybe it reminds me that even when the last 400 years have been one way, all it takes is one more silent night to produce a miracle. It’s the silent nights that reminds us of the beauty of the morning songs.
Or maybe I just love stealing Santa’s cookies at midnight.
He doesn’t need them anyway.
soli deo gloria
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