‘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.”


~ by SHEILA WALSH on December 24, 2009.

21 Responses to “‘Twas the night before Christmas”

  1. Thank you for a beautiful Christmas Eve message. Have a blessed Christmas!

  2. Thank you.

  3. I love this post Sheila. Thanks for sharing from your heart ~ and have a Merry Christmas!

  4. Thanks for sharing !! I think this is my favorite blog!! 🙂 U and Barry and Christian have a wonderful amazing and blessed christmas and new year!!!!

  5. I was brought to tears this morning @ being reminded just how far e has come for me! Thank you for the reminder today!

  6. Sheila, more than ever lately I’ve been searching for answers and wondering if God is still there. I grew up being a Christian and my brother introduced your music too me when I was about 16. I’m 40 now! Even through my trying times this past year, one thing that keeps me holding on to believe there is some bit of hope is listening to your CD, Shadowlands and at this time of year your wonderful Celtic Christmas CD!! But what I wish right now is that I could see and hear you singing Triumph in The Air. That is so powerful. Anyway thank you for giving me some hope that God is still there and thank you for being you. I wondered if you knew that you’re not only a strength to women but to me also and how powerful and meaningful your music has been to people like me for 24 years now. Thank you and I’m trying to hang in there no matter what even though typing this right now is making me a cry baby, haha. I respect and love you so much. Troy

    • Gosh Troy-I wish I could give you a big hug and let you know that you are not alone! I think Christmas can be a rough time for many people but I pray that you will know Christ’s presence with you and his love for you.
      PS-I think Triumph in the Air is on youtube:)

      • Thank you! I just watched the video on Youtube! Cried again, haha. But a happy tear! I also subscribe to you on Facebook which is so refreshing. Thank you again many times over and I’ll shut up now.

  7. Great message! Thanks for the post. I didn’t know you had a blog, glad I found it this morning.

  8. thanks for the reminder. i hoe you and yours have a wonderful holiday!

  9. Sheila,

    What a beautiful reminder of what is most important. Even to those facing difficulty these next few days, this blog offers the ultimate hope and encouragement. Merry Christmas to the Walsh’s and may God bless you with great joy during this season of celebration His most precious gift to mankind.

  10. What a beautiful reminder for today … thank you for sharing with us! It amazes me when I ponder the incredible lengths God will go to for us, all while we are so undeserving!! May God richly bless you and your family this Christmas and New Year.

  11. Sheila,

    Thank you for pointing us to the deep magic of the season. The best gifts are eternal and will shine and sparkle forever for the glory of Jesus, our Lord, the Bright Morning Star.

  12. Thank you Sheila for posting this blog. I am grateful for your ministry. As we get all wrapped up in the gift giving and traditions of Christmas, it is easy to loose site of the reason for our celebrating. Jesus! May He be the honored guest at every dinner table tomorrow. Have a wonderful Christmas Sheila.

  13. Thank you Sheila…I’ve been following you on Twitter since I saw you at the WOF Conference in Philly. I’ve found you funny, encouraging, and thought provoking.

    I’m still finding my faith but you’ve been a huge help. Thank you for this Christmas message.

    I’d love to hear any suggestions on books (for me or kids) on teaching about God and Jesus. My 5 yo just couldn’t understand my explanation about the realationship between God, Jesus, Mary and Joseph and how God is Jesus’ father.

  14. Thanks for that post Sheila. I am one for whom Christmas is a time of very mixed emotions; joy at the One for whom we celebrate, but sadness because of my family situation (my mother hasn’t spoken to me for 2 years) It’s too easy to “go to the negative” and think of all the reasons I have to not celebrate and be happy but fortunately the real reason for the season is alive in my heart. He is my reason to celebrate. He is my joy. He fills my heart with love and has given me such amazing friends who loved me.(and with whom I will be celebrating with lots of food tonight after church!!!)
    Even though you and I have never actually met in person, you have been a huge source of love and encouragement. This Christmas seaason as I celebrate, I pause and thank the Birthday Boy for His amazing gift of Himself; I also stop and give thanks for my friends of which I count you as one.

    Have a most Merry Christmas Sheila. Thank you so much for the blessing that you are.

    love, Marlene

  15. Amen Sheila Amen

  16. Perfect! Don’t grab the glitter and miss the glory.

  17. “Don’t grab the glitter and miss the glory”

    Having been an elementary art teacher in an earlier life, and a Nanny now, I need to hang this up somewhere and never forget!!!
    Thanks for giving me a powerful statement to hold onto!!!

  18. That was a great message Sheila. Thank You LORD for using Sheila to share Your love, grace & mercy with cyberspace. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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