To the lonely, it is a time of ultimate lonesomeness.
To non-Christian, it may mean just another night.
To the retailer, sales are up and prospects look good.
To a child, it is whatever the parents or care-givers make to be.
Visions of sugar plums don't dance in every kids head. Plans for survival crowd out magic and mystery. A few blink with wonder at all they behold. Others cringe in fear for another cruel blow.
Christmas Eve draped in expectations and wonder or wrapped in sorrow and sadness.
Years ago, I watched a version of Scrooge/A Christmas Carol that affected me deeply. Beneath the robes of Christmas present cringe two frightened children - Want and Ignorance. I tried to find the one I remember seeing....this was the best I could do.
Tattered, starving, hopeless these two, not the magical Christmas image that many demand for their 'perfect' holiday.
Preparing Christmas for our children challenged me to find something to meet their needs and a few of their wants. Always in the back of my mind are the Christmas gifts that simply missed the mark. Others were deliberate choices of 'You want it, you can't have it.' As an adult remembering these painful gifts, I would agonize that I didn't become the same. How I often I was told that like mother like child. No way. I wasn't going to do that. I still messed up and doubled and tripled my self-condemnation. Now with Grandchildren, I want to give what meets needs and wants and bring delight to little faces. At times I miss and a child is disappointed. I fret and worry how to make amends. No easy task with a wide variety of ages and interests and some I don't know very well.
Lingering at the back of my mind are the waifs hidden in the robes of Christmas present. Each year I try to do a little to help but feel like I fall woefully short. I am Christian. I do pray for guidance. The miracle is at times I do get it right much to the chagrin of their parents. Three year old little boys love flashing lights of police cars with wailing sirens. I share gifts with strangers or people I barely know. Yet stumped by those nearest and dearest to me. Some times money just doesn't fill the need. A Christmas Carol or sometimes called Scrooge conjures up the nightmares that haunt Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future. I change my attitude and perspective of my past. I focus on serving other and hope for the best in the present. I allow Christmas Future to hang out by itself because I have more than enough on my plate for today.
Whatever Christmas is to you, I pray that tonight you feel a bit of peace and God's love for you.