My Favorite Day of the Year

This is it. Christmas Eve is my absolute favorite day of the year. It always has been. At this point in my life, I’m sure why Christmas Eve means so much to me. If you read to the end of the post, you’ll be able to understand why as well. The reason why it matters to me may help you understand yourself and how we are wired as human beings.

My father owned his own business. He was a real entrepreneur and an extremely hard worker. He worked 365 days a year minus 52 (Sundays). During harvest, he worked some Sundays. My dad owned a cotton gin, peanut dryer, and feed mill. Most people reading this blog will only have a vague idea about the cotton gin. The peanut dryer fits only certain parts of the country and feed mills are long gone on the American landscape along with family farms.

I remember my father working all Saturday night ginning cotton and then attending church with us on Sunday morning.

That’s why Christmas Eve meant so much to me. It was one of a handful of days when my dad did not work. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were completely free. We spent the day together.

For my family, Christmas Eve had a rhythm to it. It was set in stone and never varied. We began the day (about 10 in the morning) going to the Johnson’s to leave a gift and to get a gift. I’ve often wondered how this part of the tradition got started. I imagine this part of the family wanted to give my brother and me a gift. Therefore, we visited them about the same time each Christmas eve and gave them a gift as well.

From there, we traveled to Jack, Alabama, (don’t worry, it’s hard to find even if you live in that part of the world) to visit with my dad’s best customer in the the peanut business. He traveled a long way to do business with us, and my dad wanted to express his appreciation. We loved the half hour drive to Jack. It was a time to talk and enjoy one another. We didn’t get a gift at Jack. We gave gifts, and it was fun.

On the night of Christmas Eve, the Bryans and the Baileys got together for a meal and to shoot fireworks. We spent the whole evening together. The Bryans and the Baileys had two boys each of the same age. David is still my best friend even if we rarely talk. Later, the Bryans had a third son that the Baileys didn’t match.

I now know why Christmas Eve matters to me. It was a time of friendships and relationships. It was the day when our family was always together. I, of course, got to open a gift or two on Christmas Eve but that was a minor part. What mattered was the family and friends.

It still does. God made us for relationships–with Him and with others. When you emphasize the relationships, you experience the best day that you can have. Merry Christmas! Spend it with other people as you worship on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Make family a priority.

May God bless you!

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About Waylon

I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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Verse of the Day

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. — Romans 5:6-8 (NIV)