It's now about noon on December 24, a time I call the "quiet before the storm".
Right now, Priests everywhere are tweaking their homilies or doing some last minute decorating in the church. In about three hours, the church parking lot will be full of cars parked in assorted and creative ways. The church and our hall will be bursting at the seam with all sorts of people. Christmas Eve in a parish is like a hurricane: an intense storm that you know is coming well in advance, lasts a pretty predictable amount of time, and then suddenly there's quiet and an aftermath of misplaced chairs, tossed bulletins, tipped over poinsettias, and the feeling of "Did that just happen?".