It’s true that Christmas Eve is super-busy for my family, but my family wouldn’t have it any other way. They want to be a part of things here at St. Stephen’s all afternoon and evening, or else they would really feel like they were missing something.
I’m very fortunate to have family who is willing to help take up the offering, play the piano, put on a costume, sing in a choir or run over and turn off the lights when we sing “Silent Night” if someone forgets to do it.
So, on Christmas Day, the smoky cheese and summer sausage find their way onto crackers as we open gifts as lazily as we choose and eventually watch a movie or two. Christmas Day is not about perfection, whatsoever. Frankly, neither is Christmas Eve.
You never know what the weather is going to do, who will show up at church or who might get invited over for dinner in between services. That actually happened one time, and the poor person had to eat warmed-over pizza and some semi-hard croissants because that’s all I had in the fridge.
I didn’t know another Venable had invited him to come to my house, but it was really fun. I think we found enough candy to round out the meal.
You never know what will go wrong, but you also never know what will go right. Last Christmas Eve, a mysterious man walked into the church and handed me a check for $5,000 and told me the church could spend it any way we chose. That same night, a person who had been in ICU for more than a month felt well enough to come to the 7 p.m. service.
And when a wise man was called into work duty at the last minute, a doting grandfather jumped into a costume at 4:54 p.m. and rounded out our 5 p.m. nativity scene.