I like Christmas Eve more than Christmas Day.

It is the not quite-ness of it. The meal, the conversations, the gifts are all not yet. Still safely ideal. Reality hasn’t come plowing in with all of her “matter-of-fact-about-the-ice-storm” (“Birches,” R. Frost). My belly is filled with the glow of anticipation, and no one has to clean up yet. There’re no expectations that haven’t been met. There is just the preparation and the candlelight.

Christmas Day runs like water past the mouth of a thirsty toddler.

There is something necessary and delicious about anticipation, but, when it is dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, we discount it. We shrug past it, impatient and unaware. Checkout lines, traffic, flight delays, phone tag: these couldn’t possibly hold magic. Surely not. These are a waste. These are moments for scrolling and scanning. Of frustration and boredom.

These moments don’t count.

I like Christmas Eve because it is an in-between moment that counts. It is poured into, crafted, decorated, loved waiting.

The mundane waiting, the gap between where we are and where we want to be, could that be a moment of joy? Could that be the place where life is truly lived? Sitting and waiting, dreaming and preparing, wondering and doing?

I don’t know.