christmas-eveIt’s time. Christmas Eve has finally arrived. After a long month of Christmas music being played on radio stations, Christmas gatherings with friends and shopping which never seems to end we have arrived. The long weeks of Advent and our preparation for Christmas are over. All is made ready.

The scene is set: Mary and Joseph are once again in the manger. The Shepherds have been placed in the fields and angels are in flight. The star hangs low in the sky lighting the way for all. As the mad rush of December fades into the background, the calm serenity of Christmas Eve takes over. The reason for the music, the cause for celebration and the inspiration for our gifts is before us. Are we ready?

As we prepare to sit down with family or to go out to church we are struck by the fact that Christmas is now here. Often we feel unsettled as we have been so busy over the last month that we are not sure what to do with ourselves now that we have the time to enjoy the moment. We are anxious and perhaps that is because we are still anticipating Christmas. There is still one gift to be given and it is not a gift that we can wrap. However, it is the one gift which we all receive.

We receive the gift which underwrites the true meaning of Christmas. God’s gift to creation in the form of a baby. We describe the Nativity as a serene and pastoral event. Of God’s love made flesh for all to see. We sing carols such as Silent Night which while beautiful fail to capture the reality of Jesus’ birth. Conceived in miraculous circumstances, yet born in ones which were far too ordinary.

If you have children or have ever visited a working farm you know what I am speaking off. Child birth and caring for livestock are not normally clean and peaceful events. There is something refreshing about how God chose to enter the world. The location of the birth, the witnesses to it all speak to God’s holy mystery and of God’s great love for creation. The birth of Jesus Christ is a gift for all people.

If you are feeling anxious tonight, if you have butterflies in your stomach, if you are feeling unsettled it is because you have a gift to receive. One that is offered freely. This gift embodies the hope, peace, joy and love which is found at Christmas. This gift is the love of God, represented in the Son.

Tonight as you anticipate the joy of Christmas I encourage you to gather with family and friends. Surround yourself with people you love, sing the carols which move our souls. Visit your local church, give thanks for the many gifts you have been given and receive again the gift which changes lives.

The scene is set, all is made ready. Enter in and receive God’s love.

  • On Christmas Eve All is Made Ready was first published in the Northumberland Today on December 24, 2015.