In the 12 days before Christmas, I had been rewriting the 12 Days of Christmas song with a different gift involving my family each day. What follows is the explanation for the last gift and my Christmas sentiment to my family.
On the twelfth day before Christmas I am giving to you, the twelve hours before Christmas. These are the last few hours before Christmas finally arrives. These are the magical hours. It is during these hours that Christmas truly comes alive. The deep meaningful traditions occur in these last important hours.
Children come home to be with their families. The final gifts go under the tree and the wonder and anticipation begins. The deep lasting traditions happen in these hours. I recall my family’s Christmas Eve, heading off to church to sing in the children’s Christmas Eve service, visiting my aunts, and anticipating all those gifts waiting back home. Watching the Christmas Carol with my dad and falling asleep with my head cradled under his arm. I remember our own Christmas Eve’s together, listening in church to the Christmas story, singing the carols and filling in “as Wundrows watched their sheep by night” much to your mother’s chagrin. And in those twelve hours, believing in Santa as a child and never questioning how he could visit all those houses in just one night. Then, believing that you could be and actually are the Santa beginning the day you stopped believing in the real one. I’m still pretty sure there is one, just ask Jackson if you want to believe as well. I watched him put his nose to the window and wave to him last night.
Those are the things that happen in the twelve hours before Christmas. Everything else was just the build up to these final mystical hours. My gift to you is to remind you never to let them diminish in importance, to even slip away. Hold them sacred and develop your own traditions. Make them almost rituals. Be together with family, the one you grew up in or just your own. But make it family time. Tuck your children into bed with a Christmas story of your own and then go put their Santa presents under the tree.
These are your final hours before Christmas. What will you do with them? If the true spirit of Christmas is in you, I know it will be magical.
Merry Christmas. Celebrate well.