Anticipating the Arrival of Baby Jesus
I don’t really think of Christmas Eve as a holiday as much as the prelude to one. Yet there is—or should be—a spiritual reason to celebrate Christmas Eve.
As a child I looked forward to Christmas Day with much excitement. On Christmas Eve I found it hard to fall asleep. I was too excited to quiet my racing expectations for the next day.
Not only did I struggle to fall asleep on Christmas Eve, sometimes I woke too early the next morning. My parents would wearily tell me to go back to sleep for a few more hours.
Yet despite my struggles to sleep that night and stay in bed until the morning light, Christmas Day would come and with it the presents I so looked forward to opening.
As such I didn’t celebrate Christmas Eve as much as endure it. It was something to patiently undergo so I could embrace Christmas presents the next day.
The Greatest Gift
Yes, I knew the reason for Christmas was to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Yet the allure of opening gifts pushed the true reason for the holiday aside.
We are right to celebrate Christmas as a reminder of the baby born in Bethlehem who came to earth to save us for the punishment our sins deserve. And we can celebrate Christmas Eve as a prelude to Christmas Day.
Without first having Christmas Eve, we would never get to Christmas Day.
We celebrate Christmas Day as a reminder of Jesus coming to earth as a baby to save us. Yet one day of celebration doesn’t seem enough. That’s why we can celebrate Christmas Eve in anticipation of the blessed baby’s arrival the next day.
Thank You Jesus
We rightly see Jesus’s gift of salvation—set in motion at his birth—as the greatest gift that has ever been given and the greatest gift that ever will be given. With this we say, “Thank you, Jesus, for coming to earth to save us!”
We celebrate this—or we should celebrate this—on Christmas Day. And when we celebrate Christmas Eve, we can begin one day early our remembrance of Jesus and what he came to earth to do.
May we remember to celebrate Christmas Eve now with the same over-the-top excitement that we had as a child, looking forward to the day ahead.
Then it was presents. Now it’s a salute to the day of Jesus’s birth—the most significant day in all of history, throughout all time.
May we celebrate Christmas Eve with the same over-the-top excitement we had as a child, looking forward to Jesus’s birth on Christmas Day.
Thank you, Jesus!
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.
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