Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve Reflections

Today is my most favorite day of the year.

Even as a child, I think Christmas Eve was my favorite...

Why? 

For starters, I love it for our family traditions. For as long as I can remember, we (my parents and brother) have spent Christmas with my aunt and uncle and spend the day going to mass, having a nice dinner with drinks and LOTS of after-meal snacks, opening stockings, popping European Christmas crackers, wearing the paper crowns out of them, and jut visiting and enjoying each others company. 

However, the older I get and the more I think about it, I have realized that what it is I really love about Christmas Eve is the anticipation of the next day.

Our time with family has just begun... we will all wake up tomorrow, still be together, and spend a majority of the day with one another. 

I can finally give the ones I love the gifts that I have had stashed away for the last 6 months (I am one of those crazy people who Christmas shops all year and stores everything in a designated gift box so I don't lose track/forget about it). 

My family will sit down and share a wonderful meal together, as well as stories of Christmases past. 

Now that I am an adult, I realize that what I am anticipating the most is the birth of our Savior. God sent His Son to be born of the Virgin Mary and save us all from our sins... how amazing is that? The birth of any child is exciting (the memory of holding both of my sons for the first time is one of my most cherished memories), but the birth of Christ is truly remarkable. It is hard to relate to someone who is (literally) perfect like Mary, but I can imagine her excitement and all of the love she felt for Jesus the first time cradled, nursed, and comforted her child the only way a mother can.

It is for all these reasons and more that Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the year.

To you and your family: Merry Christmas! May your days be blessed and your hearts be full from this truly joyous season.

(My Nikon skills aren't the greatest -- and I had the brilliant idea of taking these when it was dark -- but here is a peek at our Christmas home.)

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,

and wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,

A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,

And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,

And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;

"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

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