Today I rushed around like a mad thing, as many people do at this time of year, to get my Christmas shopping finished and buy a tree and some food for the week. I also had a two-hour driving lesson (turn in the road, get me!) and went to Stratford to do some of my shopping, and generally tired myself out. Then, at about 3.15, I shut the door on the world, put on my CD of anthems and carols (it's a lovely compilation of all the less well-known ones) and decorated my home for Christmas. As I put the angel on top of the tree, I was listening carefully to the words of the carol that was playing - it was the Candlelight Carol: "How can you measure the love of a mother, And how can you write down a baby's first cry?...Find him at Bethlehem laid in a manger, Christ our Redeemer asleep in the hay, Godhead incarnate and hope of salvation, A child with his mother that first Christmas day".
I paused, and thought about the real reasons why I personally celebrate Christmas, and about the fact that I only celebrate this special day and this special birth because of what happened to the innocent baby when he grew up. I stood back from my finished tree with tears in my eyes and a big smile on my face - amidst all the busy-ness and the routine traditions that we carry out almost without thinking, Christmas still has that capacity to surprise me every year. A really magical moment.