You're right, Christmas Eve is the most satisfying, the most exciting, the most potent time of the whole twelve-day holiday.
A big part of it for me was going to midnight mass on Christmas Eve: the church lit with candles; the heavy smell of incense, the large nativity scene and the trees around it with twinkling lights; smiling and nodding at the packed congregation full of old friends and families; the choir up in the loft singing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah to the majestic sound of the church's organ; the lighting of the final candle at the center of the advent wreath hanging over the nave of the church; and the reading of the nativity story from the Gospel of Luke. Just wonderful, in all senses of the word.
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Didn't realize Christmas eve would win in such a landslide.
Christmas morning and even the day has a very special feeling cause its "the day" but still...like everyone is agreeing the anticipation and the amazing amount of traditions on Christmas eve for most people even beats Christmas day.