At some point before every festal season, there is a moment of release when it becomes all about the moment.
All the planning, all the issues, all the stuff has to take a back seat to what is at hand. What matters is the "here and now" of the liturgy. There is no where else to be, no place where our minds and hearts can dwell, than in the present moment.
Of course, the reality is that reality can't be held back or pushed off, but I always take this moment of release seriously. It is God's way of reminding us that we can't always live by the clock. Sometimes, most times, we are asked to live into the moment. A moment might be only a second's click of the hands on the clock, or as long as eternity...But don't for a trice think that we can get away with dwelling ONLY in the here and now OR in the "I need to get that done yesterday" modes of life we too often wind up indulging ourselves in at the expense of living into the life of the Kingdom of God.
When we get goosebumps on Christmas Eve when the lights go low and we sing "Silent night, holy night;" when we shiver just a bit with joy when we wake up to a white Christmas' snowy morning; when the holiday dinner sits just right in our bellies we are recognizing all that is, all that was and all that might be. We can embrace the present moment for the memories it is creating...And then file those away as aspirations of what next year might bring. Both in the most positive, the most negative and the most ambivalent of reactions to the holiday celebrations get placed into this process.
Still, I really do appreciate the moment of peace that comes when it is all about the holiday. All the bits and pieces get a chance to settle out, like dust on a summer's dirt road after the car has passed by. The view clears, the breeze sweeps away what was left hanging in the air and the birdsong reminds us to slow down and enjoy.
Come holy One, Immanuel;
Give us peace to know you
Grace to love in your name, and
Time to appreciate it for what it is,
A gift, freely given.