Wednesday, December 24, 2008
This year we decided to celebrate Christmas a day early, on Christmas Eve, because the kids and I are taking a very long international flight back to the States on the 26th and I was hoping that the kids would rest better on Christmas Day in preparation for the trip. We even asked Santa as his "home visit" on Sunday if he would mind going out of his way to deliver early this year. (Extra cookies and Bailey's on-the- house! Oh, and carrots for our reindeer friends.)

Let's just say it seemed like a good idea.

In order to go with this plan, we ended up basically skipping Christmas Eve and, for the most part, it was a huge disaster. While the kids were excited as they would normally be on Christmas, we ended up so tired, frustrated, and generally unfulfilled that we decided just to have Christmas dinner where it belongs, on Christmas Day.

I didn't really realize how important having Christmas Eve was until I skipped it.

Not particularly ironically, like laboring for a child, there is natural progression from December 23rd to the 24th to the 25th to the 26th. We all know that the 23rd is business. The nesting/tying up lose ends time; the 25th is the arrival, the celebration; and, the 26th is the complete crash from all the excitment and peace is (somewhat) restored as life moves on. But the power of the 24th is underestimated. At least by me. Afterall, there's no baby without the birth, right?

By skipping the 24th, I realize I completely and utterly missed the blessed serenity of Christmas Eve. I'm not a classically religious person, so this really surprised me. There is truly a magical mystery to the waiting and the hopefulness of Christmas Eve. It is probably the one time of the year that I really find peace in church whereas I usually tend to find the "darkness" of church a bit overwhelming. I love wrapping presents and I like to wait to do it all on Christmas Eve. I love having family rituals at the end of the day of Christmas Eve. Overall, I love the sense of optimism that warms everyone on Christmas Eve.

And this year I missed it all. But I will not let the lesson go to waste. If anything, I think I just learned that I would rather spend a year in the serenity of Christmas Eve, than even 10 minutes of Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas! Joy to the World!


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