Christmas Eves Past
My earliest memory of Christmas Eve is when I was nine years old. We visited a small Methodist church in the Maryland countryside. Snow blanketed the fields and roads outside, warm bodies and overcoats squished tight together in the pews inside. The sanctuary heat was cranking. My parents squeezed us into the fourth row from the back, on the left; it was tight.
The Christmas Eve meditation wasn’t all that appealing to this nine year old. But following the message, each child in the congregation was called forward, by name, to receive a Christmas gift. But I was an unknown visitor; who was I? No one knew I was even there.
Imagine my surprise when the guy upfront called my name “Is there a Gary Davis here?” I made my way forward wondering how anyone here knew my name, let alone could have bought me a gift. I returned to my seat and opened my gift; it was something I had actually wanted. WOW!
That was the first time God truly grabbed my attention.
We’ve had many Christmas Eves since then. Like the one where I could hear my dad struggling to assemble my first bike ($@&*%!); or the lavish late night dinners at Miller Brothers’ or Haussner’s Restaurant in Baltimore. They are wonderful memories.
Later, my wife Starr and I created Christmas Eve miracles and magic for our family. Many persist to this day, filled with light, graciousness, and blessing to all. But we would always hang onto a few moments of silence for just us, and the Christ Child. But it all started, for me, in that little country church when I was nine.
Throughout my life God has captured my attention in many ways. I have never become used to it. It is always unexpected and amazing. To this day I am still surprised by God for the everyday provisions He drops in my lap, let alone for the miraculous and the magical.
What have your Christmas Eves held for you? Mine have not all been so memorable; some have been terrible, truly terrible. Maybe yours have been like that too; but not all. Some have been truly wonderful.
This Christmas Eve, be open to God grabbing your attention, surprising you. It may be something you need to.