Every Christmas I remember the magical December moments of my youth. I can’t remember presents, objects, valuables at these moments, but vague smiles, merging gazes, cold, snow covered gardens, the ringing of tinklers, the roar of church bells, the sideways hanging hat of my grandfather, the sprinkled crumbs for little birds.
Everyone experiences Christmas Eve differently. There are those who celebrate the birth of Christ, some greet the winter solstice, while others just look forward to a long awaited present. Some, on the other hand, would just like a warm and cosy room, a comfortable bed, a plate of nice warm soup, or just a few kind words and a pleasant and cheerful day. But I think most of us, on the day of Jesus’s birth, are looking forward to a feeling of inner peace, serenity and love.
How we prepare for this occasion depends not entirely on us, as everyone has their own traditions and rites. But to prepare our soul for the celebration is our responsibility. If we only concentrate on our outer looks and festive appearance, then we may miss our chance of wholly feeling the magic of Christmas. Happiness is made of little joyous moments. If I succeed in seeing the significant things in this world, if I’m capable of seeing what’s important and what’s not, I will have a much higher chance in feeling through the beauty and kindness which December hides. If I succeed in giving my entire self to the blissful wait, then I may receive glimpses of joy in return. And this is what each holiday should be about.
We could all have the serenity of a family gathered around a Christmas dinner, the calmness of a widow preparing for Midnight Mass, the curiosity of a small child opening a sparkling Christmas cooky, the happiness of the child next door on his new sledge.
The child who waits for the first snow – his wait is good, and his waiting already suffices to a good snowfall, wrote János Pilinszky in his Christmas message. May such a good wait, human generosity, small joyful moments and divine providence be with you this Christmas!