Say “Christmas Eve” to me and I think meatballs. Mounds of delicious Swedish meatballs.
I also think of this hazy peaceful feeling that seems to crop up only on Christmas Eve, possibly due to the aforementioned meatballs. And then there’s singing Christmas carols in church whilst holding candles (all while failing to avoid the hot wax that has never been stopped by those silly little paper circle dresses).
Oh, and goodwill. I feel lots of goodwill on Christmas Eve.
It’s a confusing day, I want to lounge around, I want to go out. There’s still so much to do, but there’s also family to connect with. Christmas Eve is a day full of expectation, and culmination. After weeks of waiting, you’re finally at a day with the word Christmas in it.
Yet, for all the food, feelings, fa-la-la-la-ing, it’s really not about those things at all. And if you’re like me you’ve heard a similar message every day since Thanksgiving. And if you’re like me, you’re a little bit sick of it, because a shallow part of you thinks it’d be kind of nice if it were all about the presents.
Forgive a bait and switch, but it is about the presents. Well, present.
The ultimate gift of Christ’s coming, the Word becoming flesh, the Messiah arriving in such humble circumstances: it is because of Jesus Christ’s birth that Christians celebrate. The angels exalted him through song, so we sing. The Wisemen brought gifts, and so we give to each other. We celebrate because Christ’s coming was full of celebration.
At the heart of most of our goodwill is the radical message of Jesus that there’s more to this life than us. That when Christ came he allowed Gentile and Jew to join him in through the grace he offered us.
Christmas eve is this last day of preparation for the coming King. How will you celebrate?
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”