If I go to bed now I will be up in 4 hours so that would make itÂ€hmmmmmm
That was the way I had to think about Christmas Eve. I had to have a plan.
When would be that optimum time for me to go to bed. If I go to early then I will be up in the middle of the night and Santa might not come. If I go to sleep too late then Santa might try to come early and AGAIN I would miss him.
This is what went through my head for most of my early life on Christmas Eve. You see I could never get more than 4 hours of sleep no matter what I did.
Christmas was the ultimate! But Christmas Eve was agony.
The anticipation of the big day filled me with more adrenaline than a 4 shot latte with an energy drink chaser. (dont laugh I have done it)
I wanted SO badly for Christmas and all the joy, laughter, food and Presents to get here that my little body slept for 4 hour MAX! No more, no less.
I would go to bed at 9pm and be up at 1am, Midnight and be up at 4am! It got so bad for awhile that my parents would keep me up so that they could sleep in a little in the morning.
As a youngster that still believed in Santa I would sit with the flashlight and wait until I thought I heard reindeer landing on my roof, and then listen for the sound of movement in the living room. Listening for the sound of someone moving the fireplace screen. Straining to hear the smallest, faintest Â€ÂœHo HO HOÂ€
I would periodically sneak out of my bedroom door, slip down the hall,(careful not to disturb Dad and Mom) and turn on my flashlight. With the child like stealth of a thousand ninjas, I would peer around the corner. Looking for the Big Red Suit.
I look back on it know and realize that if I had actually SEEN Santa I would have fainted dead away.
But, sadly every time I lookedÂ€..No Santa and NO PRESENTS. yet by the time mom and dad got up on Christmas morning there were ALWAYS presents there!
SANTA was GOOD!!!
One memorable year though I lie in wait and made my parents think I was fast asleep and listened for the sound of their door closing. Over and over I heard their door open and close. This was TORTURE! Why wouldnt they just go to sleep and let me CATCH Santa!
Finally the door shut and did not reopen. I smiledÂ€.this was it. I was going into the living room and would wait for Jolly old St Nicholas. I chuckled in spite of myself.
When I got to the living room and flipped on my flashlightÂ€Â€.the presents were already under the tree!!
How could this be! HOW did I miss him. DARN IT SANTA (this was the closest thing to a curse word I was allowed to use) HOW DID I MISS YOU! I implored the heavens silently and gave Santa his dueÂ€.he was not just good. He was GREAT.
Time would pass and I no longer tried to catch him in the act. My time of a belief in Santa had come to an end BUT not the anticipation for Christmas morning nor the inability to sleep more than 4 hours.
Even into my college years I would get up promptly at 4 am, go in the kitchen and make myself a cup of tea. Then I would relax, read a book and wait for the family to wake up.
As I write this I understand that it is the anticipation for things, GOOD things that kept me from sleeping. Other things in my life have gained me little sleep. Wedding Eve, the nights before our children were born are just some examples of those sleepless nights.
But what about the first Christmas Eve. Were Mary and Joseph eagerly anticipating the birth of the Son of God? Were they unable to sleep that night? I imagine they were and maybe for different reasons.
I have never given birth (thank you God) but I have witnessed it. If Mary felt anything like my wife did then I am sure she just wanted to get it over with.
Joseph, however, was a man who needed answersÂ€.he wanted to know SO many things about the birth of Jesus. While I was wondering if I could ever catch Santa, he was wondering if he could raise the Son of God. While I was an amateur detective and Santa the grizzled veteran, Joseph was a simple carpenter and God is wellÂ€.God. Santa never reviled his childhood mystery to me and God didnt to Joseph. We were left to find out on our own.
We were left to anticipate, to be excited and a little scared as well. It prepared us for what was yet to come, the time when mystery would be revealed.
I pray for you this day that you will anticipate GOOD things. I pray that you will feel the quickening in your nerves and the knot in your stomach as you wait for lifes mysteries to be revealed. Dont worry you wont run out of those times in life, because the ultimate mystery awaits. The day when ALL will be revealed as we greet our FATHER in heavenÂ€..
And I think I need to go put some batteries in my flash lightÂ€.just in case.
You will also be lifted up in prayer, too Brother Dale! Thanks, and have a very merry blessed joyous Christmas! Dave