The Gift of Waiting and Watching

All was dark. It felt like the middle of the night – like I had just placed my head on the pillow. Yet all was not still in our home.

What began as whispers in the distance, turned into giggles. The ever-loving voice of my wife laying next to me said quietly, for the second time, “I think it’s time.”

I stood up and began to shuffle in a dream-like trance out of the bedroom door and into the living room.

Turn on the Christmas tree – check.

Make sure that Santa’s cookies and milk and the carrots for the reindeer are gone – check.

Make sure Santa has strategically placed the stockings – check.

Mustering up every ounce of enthusiasm my weary body holds, I make my way to the room where the giggles have become unabashed and off-the-wall energy. Standing just feet away from the door in the darkness I shout, “Come quick, Santa’s been here!!!”

In an instant, two small bodies shoot past me, screaming with joy at the top of their lungs.

I love Christmas morning!

It’s like living in a snow globe filled with anticipation, joy and unbounded love and warmth.

It is a holy time, and in our home, there is no better day. What makes this day so incredible are all the days leading up to it.

Daily Advent readings and opening new windows on the Advent calendar, lighting the Advent wreath, filling the crèche with creatures and critters, Lessons and Carols, the Christmas pageant and, most importantly, the Christmas Eve service, all create the foundation that makes Christmas morning so life-giving.

I can’t imagine Christmas morning without the Advent journey. Hearing once again the familiar readings from our sacred story, the Advent prayers and hymns, the waiting, watching and preparing for the coming of our Lord, all of these provide the context for what we proclaim on Christmas Eve, and for what is at the heart of the holiness of Christmas morning.

The life and blessing of the Advent and Christmas season, the anticipating and celebrating, serve as a reminder of the rhythm of our faith journey. We lose ourselves in waiting and watching for the ways that God is constantly becoming Incarnate in the world. We lose ourselves in the daily invitation to follow in the Way of Jesus, who always leads us in the Way of Love, to bring our gifts to the Beloved Community. This, for me, is what is manifested on Christmas morning.

May you have a wonderful Christmas tide – you are the gift that makes ECMN the Beloved Community!

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