Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve

By the time you get this, your Christmas Eve should be in full swing. Hopefully, everything's bought that's going to be bought, and everything's up that's going to get put up. For grown-ups with kids there may still be some wrapping of presents, a little, last-minute decorating, or some other odds and ends, before the kids hit the ground running at 5 a.m. But for the most part ... preparations should be nearing an end.

As a kid in Chicago I remember one Christmas in the 1960s when I got my first G.I. Joe. That year my Dad was managing a neighborhood grocery story, my oldest brother was in Vietnam, and my Mom was on pins and needles. Around the house it was Johnny Mathis on the turntable, A Charlie Brown Christmas on our black and white TV, and wassail wafting from the kitchen. I was reading -- for the umpteenth time -- my Dennis the Menace Pocket Full of Fun Christmas edition, and watching quarter-sized snowflakes steadily cover the street outside our home, which was in the back of the laundry my Mom operated.

What a time of the year Christmas is for kids! I hope it's as fun these days as it was for us back in the Middle Ages. Things were less frenetic then, more homespun and simple. Certainly, the distractions were fewer. The fact that four-year-olds can follow a series of commands on a hand-held computer is nifty, but somehow with all this connectedness (and the stream of choices that goes with it) there's a disconnect too.

Sadly, it's often the same for adults.

As this evening rolls on and quickly disappears, take a moment, no, better yet, seize a moment to contemplate what it's really all about. Beyond the warm glow of flickering lights, beyond the heady aroma of baked cookies and sweet breads, beyond the prospect of unwrapping that present you're biting at the bit to unwrap, there was a life born in this world 2,000 years ago that changed everything-for everyone-for all time.

May your Christmas be merry with the gift of Good News that's yours 365 days a year!

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