‘Twas the night before Christmas
I had a deal with my sister Frances on the Christmas Eve when I was eight years old. It was bare and beautiful in it’s simplicity-it should have worked. Here is what I presented to my more sceptical sibling.
“We are never going to catch a glimpse of Santa if we don’t orchestrate it ourselves so here’s what we are going to do. I have enough candy to keep us awake all night if necessary but knowing how sleepy you get we need to commit to pinching one another on the arm every five minutes. Are you in?”
She said she was but by her third pinch I could tell she was fading fast. I gave her the best candy, I tried pep talks but it was no good, I lost her to the night. For the next hour or so I pinched myself and couldn’t believe it when I opened my eyes to a snowy morning, the deed was done and I had missed the man in the red suit.
One of the greatest gifts of being a mother has been watching my son’s journey through thirteen Christmas Eve’s. His most dramatic was when we were visiting my mom’s home on the West Coast of Scotland when he was five years old. He took a look behind her electric fire and when he realized that there was no real fireplace he panicked. We managed to reassure him that Santa’s commitment to get his gifts to him far outweighed any architectural defect in grandma’s home.
That thought is what I’m sitting with this morning. God’s commitment to get to us far outweighs any defect in our home or our history. Some of us are surrounded by those we love and who love us. For others Christmas can be a painful reflection of what is not working. Either way, one truth remains and I hold onto that truth with every fiber of my being today, tomorrow and into a new year. God is with us and God is for us. His gift to us is so much more than we would have the understanding to ask for. He offers himself. He who is love, hope, joy, peace and life offers all of who he is for all of who we are.
Tomorrow you could sit around a table of the best and most cherished in your life and miss the deeper more lasting gift. You could sit alone and miss it too. But the gift will still be there for you and for me. Don’t grab the glitter and miss the glory.
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord.”