Before I was ordained, and when my children were small, Christmas Eve was the day I made Moravian sugar cake, which we would eat for breakfast on Christmas Day. I'd prepare it in the morning while listening to the King's College Christmas Lessons and Carols on the public radio station.
I haven't made sugar bread in years, ever since Christmas Eve became a very busy work day for me and for the children (one of whom is now a volunteer church musician). But this year, thanks to the magic of internet radio, I am listening to the service from King's College at my desk. And thanks to wonderful friends bearing gifts, I had sugar cake mailed from Old Salem for breakfast.
Meanwhile, people are scurrying around at the church, getting things ready. There's so much to do behind the scenes. The altar guild has changed the frontal and hangings to Christmas white and put out an altar in the fellowship hall for our overflow crowd. Stacks of bins full of bulletins for our three services are sorted and ready. Extra chairs are being pulled out of the cupboards, and luminaries line the breezeway between the parish house and church.
Choir members will soon begin warming up their voices and instrumentalists flexing their fingers. Because it's a rainy, messy day, our sextons will wheel in coat racks for the drippy raincoats people will shed as they arrive this afternoon.
My dad always did his Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. That was interesting. I had to run a few errands this morning and amazingly the stores were fairly empty and the cashiers smiling and friendly.
So, it's a busy day for many people. The waiting is over and the preparations are now in high gear. It takes a lot to "put on Christmas." Thanks for all you do to make it happen at your church and in your community and your home.
But. I hope you'll have a chance to take a few deep breaths, put up your feet for a few minutes today with a nice cup of tea (or something), listen to some music, light some candles, and settle in to the thought that our savior and our salvation has indeed now drawn very near, and by doing so has drawn us very near to the heart of God.