Isn’t it odd that Christmas Eve is one of the shortest days of the year? I know – there are 24 hours in every day. But the winter solstice was just a couple of days ago, and in North America, we have one of the shortest amounts of daylight today. I say that it’s odd because, even though it is one of the shortest days of the year, when you’re a kid, it seems like the longest day of the year! Will Christmas NEVER get here??
Imagine what it was like for the people of Israel. Christmas Eve for them lasted for thousands of years. They waited and waited on the Messiah, knowing that some day, SOME DAY, he was coming. The funny thing is that, when he came, they didn’t even know it. Christmas had come, and yet it was still Christmas Eve for them. And for many today, this is still the case. This “holiday” for so many is just that – a “holiday,” not a holy day.
Christmas for so many has no real spiritual meaning. Oh, sure, it means presents and food and family. And there is nothing wrong with those. But they are all just trappings. And until they realize that all this stuff means nothing without Jesus at the center of the celebration, well, it will always be Christmas Eve. My prayer for you is that while you celebrate family and friends and presents, the prophecy we see in Isaiah 9 during the first reading for Midnight Mass will be fulfilled in you, “You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing.”
Father, help us to always remember and celebrate the real Christmas, the birth of our Savior. Amen.