We entered a little before 11:00 PM. It was way past our bedtimes and the latest we were allowed to stay up any night of the year. But that night was different. It was almost too good to be true, a late supper, our best clothes, piling into the car for the ride to the church.
It was Christmas Eve, and we arrived for a very special church service that lasted until a few minutes after midnight. The music, the tree, communion, and candlelight all blended together to create an atmosphere of expectation that was unrivaled at any other time.
To this day, the mystery of it engulfs me as I think back. And sometimes, as we left the church, snow would have begun to fall announcing the onset of a white Christmas morning. I left glowing in the wonder of the Christmas story and reveling in the excitement that morning was just a few hours away.
I always tried to hold onto every moment.
I loved it.
I still do.
To me, the Christmas Eve service was the most wonderful church event of the year.
And it still it is, even though it’s a little different now. It’s not at midnight, but it’s still candlelight and communion with beautiful music and the expectation of the morning. I still try to hold onto every moment.
What is it about Christmas Eve?
I think the gift of it is that it’s filled with expectation. Wonderful things are usually just waiting for the morning light. Family, gifts, laughter, good food, sweets and treats all combine on the morning of Christmas.
But Christmas Eve is when you hold your breath and look forward. It’s the time you wait and hope.
It reminds us that the world was waiting, hoping for a Savior and then He arrived on Christmas day.
It reminds us that hopes are realized when we meet Jesus.
Christmas Eve is a gift. It’s the gift of church and music and candlelight but it’s more. It’s the gift of hope.
His name is Jesus.