The Night That Changed The World

So here we are… the night before Christmas. In a few minutes, it’ll be after midnight here in California, Christmas day 2011.

People all over the world find joy in giving at Christmas. It’s a wonderful thing. In my family, we exchange gifts on Christmas Eve. That tradition started when I was maybe 12 or so. We enjoyed it so much, it transferred to my own family and kids. We’ve never done Santa. I don’t object to Santa, we just have a whole other tradition. I’ve asked my kids if they feel like we should have done Santa. Getting to open presents on Christmas Eve makes their answers an universal “No.” 🙂

There is really something special about the time after opening presents is done. It’s like we now focus on the night ahead leading towards Christmas morning, as if this was the actual night of Jesus birth before the dawn. It’s beautiful. We can picture the angels off in the distance appearing to the shepherds and singing, “Peace on earth, goodwill to men.”

It’s hard to imagine a world without Christmas. I’m glad I don’t have to. Some do. That’s not for me. Even a non-believing Jewish friend told me, “I’m a Christmas Jew.” He appreciates the meaning, even if he hasn’t come to believe God actually did come into the world that night so long ago.

Christmas is still breathtaking to me in its beauty, aside from the commercialism and such. Just a quiet night, lights, love, and hope. Nothing else like it. Though Easter is the greater victory, it comes with the Good Friday reminder before it. It makes me wish the gift in Jesus didn’t require his death for my sin. At Christmas, there’s no pain. It’s just the joyous celebration of God’s love. Emmanuel. God here, with us. That’s so comforting. Some day it will be other way. Us there, with God.

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