"His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this." - Isaiah 9:2-7
I sleep like a baby on Christmas Eve. When my head hits the pillow I am out like a light, down for the count, taking the express train to snooze-town.
Not so when I was a kid. I remember lying awake long into the night on Christmas Eve, my heart aflutter over whether I would get what I really wanted. Christmas was a wondrous day when I might awake to find my heart's desire made real, literally gift wrapped, with no repayment possible other than being overjoyed.
As an adult, it's not the same. I will get piles and piles of socks because that's what I ask people for. I will get dry intellectual books because people know that's what I'm into. Not exactly stuff that inspires sleepless nights of anticipation. It's good (I suppose) to grow out of the thrill of materialism, but I've lost something too.
I've stopped hoping that on Christmas morning I might awake to find my heart's desire has been made real. But that's because what I want are things like peace and reconciliation in the Holy Land, an end to rampant gun violence, a dismantling of mass incarceration.
No one on earth could give me these things. They are so big only God Almighty could give them. They are gifts so good that only a God named Love could give them. They are gifts God has promised to give us, like a surprise, like a blessing wrapped in bands of cloth and laying in a manger.
God, keep me awake tonight, waiting on you in wonder.
John Edgerton is Associate Pastor at Old South Church in Boston, Massachusetts.