Christmas Eve: A Time of Waiting

It is Christmas Eve. My thoughts turn to the demands of this annual social and shopping tsunami that is more focused on the economic crisis than with a child of God being born. Several of my friends have unburdened themselves to me as they anticipate the gathering of family and the ritual of traditional food and hostility. “I’ll just keep my mouth shut,” they say while wrapping their gifts. I know of only one family who happily anticipates this annual gathering but since they get together several times a year because they enjoy each other’s company anyway, they don’t count.

Sad to say, but for me, the holiday season is a time to get through without collateral damage. But Christmas Eve is different. It’s the promise that something beautiful is about to occur. Perhaps it’s a projection from past Christmas Eves still bolstering my joy, the eager anticipation of Christmas morning when my three sisters (my brother was still an infant) and I perched at the top of the stairs where our bedrooms were located and waited for the clock to strike 6am, which is when our exhausted parents told us we were allowed to come down to see what Santa had left us. We were usually up by 4am and during our long wait invariably had to use the loo, which involved going downstairs PAST THE CHRISTMAS TREE to get to the single bathroom in the house. We had to solemnly promise to cover our eyes with our hands and NOT LOOK AT THE TREE NO CHEATING but of course, when it was my turn, I was overwhelmed with breathless temptation and told myself that glimpses through my spread fingers wasn’t really LOOKING and therefore wasn’t cheating. The dazzling silver tinsel sparkling from the reflected light of the stairwell and the stacks of wrapped gifts always took my breath away as I scampered past on my way to the bathroom, which happened to be opposite my parents’ bedroom so there was no yelling out SANTA CLAUS WAS HERE!   

Mom and Dad had no idea we tortured ourselves every year or how many agonizing hours the four of us spent together at the top of the stairs. Now they tell us we could have come down sooner. Frankly, I am glad we never thought to ask and waited until 6 o’clock. It has become the memory over which I warm my heart.

To promises….

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4 Responses to Christmas Eve: A Time of Waiting

  1. I love Christmas, it's my favorite holiday. Getting together with my family and extended family is something I look forward to with much anticipation and happiness.

    We had a wonderful Christmas Eve with the children and grandchildren. I feel sorry for people who can't get along and just go through it because they have to, it seems they are missing the point of getting the whole family together.

    Wishing you and your husband a Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year.

  2. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  3. Kim says:

    Count me among the families you know who enjoy getting together! As much as there is an abundance of stress, hassle and chaos, there's just something about all of us being together that makes it all worthwhile.

    I loved the description of you and your sisters, and sneaking past the Christmas tree on Christmas morning. Lovely – thanks for sharing!

    Hope you and Ken had a lovely day, and are staying in, warm and dry, during the storm.

  4. dlg says:

    As you know, I also posted about the magic of Christmas Eve, and how I love the feeling that anything is possible.

    The holidays are such a mixed bag for so many of us. It's the time of year when that big, glaring spotlight shines on our relationships with friends and family. As I get older, I try hard to tap into what it is that matters most to me in a given year, and make choices accordingly. I hope you're happy with the choice you made this year–and that these days have been both merry and bright!

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