Trying to fall asleep on Christmas Eve


I couldn’t sleep. I turned to one side, then back to the other. I pulled my pillow over my head and clinched my eyes tight hoping that both would miraculously put me to sleep. I tried to count sheep, but nothing seemed to help put me into a blissful sleep.

I was tired, but I just couldn’t fall asleep. Despite my best efforts, I heard every little movement in the house. I’d hear a distant ruffling sound and wonder if the noise was one of Santa’s reindeers up on the roof — my guess was that Comet or Blitzen were acting-up —or simply a bush scratching against the house?

I’d count the minutes until I could race to the living room to see what Santa Claus brought my family and me. Christmas eve night is a sleepless night for many kids.

When I was very young, however, I remember one Christmas Eve when I swear I spent much, if not all of the night, tossing and turning. I didn’t fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning.

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Dreams of the Sugar Plum fairy or something like that

I couldn’t stop dreaming about the shiny new slot car race track, the Lincoln Logs building set, or the Johnny West cowboys and calvary action figures that I had asked Santa for Christmas.

Decades have passed. In that time, I’ve matured from a kid dreaming of presents to being a father of three with college kids. I dream less about the shiny new toy I’m going to get to more about what I’m going to give. However, I must admit, I wouldn’t mind a shiny new car — both the one with a V-6 engine and the one that races around a small kid’s track — underneath the Christmas tree.

No, no, my dreams have changed, but I still look forward to Christmas Eve night. I still find it one of the most exciting nights of the year. We’ve long since passed the stages of having to go out last minute shopping, hunting for that hard-to-find big ticket toy or having to stay up late to put together or wrap one of my kid’s toys.

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The gift of hope and gratitude

Our Christmas Eves have become downright tame. In fact, my kids know most of what they’re getting now. Oh, there’s the still the small surprise. I can’t let them get the best of me, just because they’ve gotten wiser and I’ve gotten older.

The night though has become less about the presents we buy and more about the presents we give from the heart. I enjoy the night now for the hope of the year to come and the feeling of gratitude I have for my family and all the wonderful things God has given us.

I have hope for a brighter future, for a better world. I have hope that Jesus Christ is our savior and came to die for our sins. These are all simple dreams, but I’ll still be filled with excitement when I go to sleep Christmas Eve night.

I hope you will too. Merry Christmas.

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