As a child, my favorite part of waking up on Christmas morning was the first waking realization that it was Christmas, which was the best day of the year, even in our nonchristian family. My first move was to jump up and look out my bedroom window to see if it had snowed last night. Usually not, but several memorable times it did. After the snow-check, my brother Lance and I would run to our stockings hung by mom in the living room. I would open the contents slowly, including the ever-present Whitman's Samplers, stretching it out, not wanting it to end.
We got the big presents on Christmas Eve, but there was a special joy in the little treasures wrapped up in the stockings. I didn't understand then that these little gifts represented the greatest gift ever given—God's Son. Now, as an adult, a father and a grandfather, I feel those same childlike feelings, a warmth and anticipation. But what I feel now on Christmas that I didn't many years ago is anticipation for a New Earth, without sin and curse and suffering—a redeemed earth where I will live and work and play and worship and serve with Christian family and friends, and countless new friends besides.
I feel a spirit of adventure not just for the passing joys of Christmas, but for an eternal Christmas, a great story where—as C. S. Lewis put it at the end of the Chronicles of Narnia—every chapter will be better than the one before.
The prayer of my heart this Christmas is that people would understand that Jesus is the person they were made by and made for—that they would understand that He loved them enough to go to the cross for them and pay the price for their sins so that they could live forever with Him on the New Earth, the eternal Heaven.
There's a true story of a Christ-loving man who lay dying. His son asked, "Dad, how do you feel?"
His father replied: "Son, I feel like a little boy on Christmas Eve."
Christmas is coming. We live our lives between the first Christmas and the second. We look back to that first Christmas and the life of Jesus on the earth for some 33 years—but we look forward to the Christmas in which the resurrected Christ will return and we, his resurrected people, will live with him forever on the New Earth. And right when we think "It doesn't get any better than this"....it will!
Wishing you and your loved ones a blessed Christmas as you celebrate the Savior's birth.