>Christmas Eve

>It’s Christmas Eve.

Possibly the most beautiful day – well, night – of the year.
Certainly one of my top favorites!
Despite the sleepy fatigue.
Despite the to-do list, hopefully checked off, twice.

We are going to midnight Mass.
And yes, it’s at midnight!
{And yes, it makes me crazy when they have midnight Mass or services not at midnight…I mean, what’s up with that??? It misses the whole point, for goodness sake! But I digress…..}

So, yup, we are going to midnight Mass.
All of us.
And it will be hard to re-wake the kiddles, and dress them and nudge them out the door.
But once the whining and moaning and groaning is done, I, erk, I mean they, we, are all so glad we made the effort.

Because midnight Mass is like magic.
It’s better than magic.
It is sacred.
It’s the Incarnation!

And it’s cold and dark outside and hushed.
And we file into the warm church from the deep cold night.
And we step in and we see….the church transformed.
It is filled with lights, white lights, greens and poinsettas bursting and filling the church with color and sparkling light, flickering candles and hymns by the choir.
And in the middle of it, in front of the altar is now the manger.
The church is filled to overflowing, with folks from all over, and all denominations, and that is so happy and awesome too.
And as we settle into our pew (and yes, we now take up a whole pew, just us), we unload our coats and bags and kneel.
And some of the kids fall asleep again, some big, some small.

And every year, I just about cry.
I can’t help it, I take a deep breath and close my eyes for a minute.
It makes tears spring to my eyes, and smile…because it is just so, well, happy, so literally joyous.
We grin at each other like fools, and yes, sometimes a teen will roll their eyes at the doofy parents.
But we can’t help it.

It’s the best news of all: a baby!
A baby has been born!
God himself has come down to us, in a tiny new little one.
The most special of babies; look, see and hear the heavens rejoicing!

And we all smile and breath deep and sigh.
It’s midnight Mass.

And it is simply glorious.

And the veil between heaven and earth is somehow thinner in this nighttime moment.
And we can feel the rejoicing running through us, right here in our little church.
The bells will ring in the night and as we head out back to home, awake and cold in the dark but filled with the biggest of celebrations: the warm of the church and the Mass, the Incarnation.

The little boy in the photo above gets the great privilege of lighting a candle at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
But we get the great privilege of going to Mass tonight, at midnight, sleepy and cold and tired….to wake our very souls up once more to the pure unspeakable joy that rings out tonight. It’s a baby, He is born!
It’s Christmas!

If you feel like seeing the most real miracle, go to midnight Mass.
I am so grateful for, and love, this Mass, this Christmas, this Gift.

Merry Christmas to all!