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I’m writing this at 6:45 AM on Christmas morning.

It’s one of my favorite times of the year. It’s been one of my favorite times of the year for all of my life.

The moment just before. The time between preparation and delivery. The interlude of anticipation.

I have always loved this moment. The proximity to satisfaction and discovery. The delay just before gratification. A ever-present, now visible future filled with possibility just ahead.

On Christmas morning, it’s time when children vibrate like strings on a guitar. Presents sit under the tree, seeming to somehow vibrate themselves. Corners of gifts poke from stockings. Lights twinkle in the darkness of early morning. All is silent and still. The scene has been set. Everything’s in its appointed place.

We simply await the final ticks on the clock to reach the appointed hour.

I love the moment just before the knowing.

When I was a kid, my brothers and sisters and I would scramble down the stairs and sit amongst the presents, waiting for our parents to awaken so we could open our gifts. We’d lift and shake and guess at what might be hiding under the wrapping paper. Even as a boy, I knew that Christmas was more fun before the presents were unwrapped.

That there was more joy in the wondering than the discovering.

In the past, I’ve received emails from my agent with the subject line, “Great news” for “Film offer.” I’ve read the subject line and many times stuffed the phone back in my pocket, willing to wait until the moment is right to see how my future has changed.

Maybe it means waiting until Elysha is with me to read the news.

But much more often, I stuff the phone into my pocket because it’s the time just before knowing that I love more than the knowing.

Once you know, it’s over. All done. Possibility has become reality. The unknown has become known. Mystery and anticipation are no more. The world returns to its flat, obvious self.

Give me an unwrapped present any day.