Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It Feels Like Christmas

"It's Christmas Eve! It's... it's the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we... we... we smile a little easier, we... w-w-we... we... we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we would be! "  
~From the movie Scrooged

My son Will (after listening to me make up a song during a commercial on TV) remarked  once that "no one in our family is normal- and that's a good thing." Nowhere is the unusual nature of our clan more clear than on Christmas Eve. Here's a quick look at Christmas Eve with the Jones family...
  • I have to go shopping.  For as long as I can remember it has been a personal tradition for me to go out and purchase at least one present on Christmas Eve.  It used to be I had to go to the mall; now I buy very little at the mall, so I just go to Walgreen's or Big Lots or whatever- but I have to get something for Christmas on Christmas Eve.  It's a moral imperative...
  • The family (including my Mom) heads out to the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at Van Dyke Church. It's just not Christmas without proclaiming Jesus is LORD!
  • Then we head home for a traditional Christmas Eve meal- Hot Dogs!  Yes, hot dogs! Since we began doing it at my Grandmother Dot's house when I was a little boy for the purpose of ease of preparation, hot dogs have become our meal of choice on Christmas Eve. But we are natives of North Carolina, and so we are not talking about a wiener and a bun here. A REAL hot dog has chili, slaw, onions, mustard and ketchup. This is a Carolina Dog, and there is nothing that compares- and I've tried Chicago Dogs and everything else! My mouth is already watering...
  • The family part of our evening wraps up with a viewing of The Muppet Christmas Carol (see video at the bottom). It is our absolute favorite, and always our last activity before bedtime on Christmas Eve. What better way to remember "there's only one more sleep 'til Christmas..."
And one more thought from the Muppets. One of the big songs in the movie reminds us that "wherever you find love. it feels like Christmas!" What a great reminder that tomorrow morning we will celebrate the coming to this world the love of God whose name is Jesus! When we love one another, when we seek to share God's love with a hurting world, we bring Christmas to life. And it doesn't have to be a one day thing. Listen to the lyrics:

It is a season of the heart, a special time of caring, the ways of love made clear
It is a season of the spirit, the message if we hear it is make it last all year

Some talking heads believe there is a war on Christmas. When love is present, there is no war. Many of the "secular" things people rail against- the lights, the presents and Santa- are redeemed when we love. The lights reminds us that the Light of the world was born. The presents remind us of the greatest gift of all. And Santa represents the spirit of giving and service that Christ came to bring the world. If you are willing to look for it, Christmas is everywhere- and it is not seasonal! "In all the places you find love, it feels like Christmas!" And if you find it, you will not want to let it go! So enjoy your Christmas Eve and your traditions. And prepare your hearts for tomorrow. Love has come for the world to know- and his name is Jesus!!!

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