I asked my kids last night how it feels to wait as we read the first devotional in our church’s Advent book and lit the first candle in our Advent wreath. I don’t think Mr. C enjoys waiting too much, and the poor kid has to do it a lot with the mother he has. He doesn’t whine much, but I know he doesn’t exactly enjoy all the waiting he has to do in his life. I’ve seen his answer to be true: he just fills his waiting up with distractions and tries not to think about it too much. Lunch isn’t ready yet? Ok, I’m starving, but I’ll just finish one more school subject.
Little E doesn’t always like waiting, but she understands the idea of anticipation. This doesn’t always work in my favor. For example, taking toys away from her as a punishment doesn’t work too well. She relishes the three days it will take to get them back. But when it comes to countdowns to events like birthdays, vacations, and holidays, she takes full enjoyment in the wait. When she gets older, I bet she’ll be like me and not want to open Christmas presents early. I remember one year when I was in junior high when I found my Christmas presents in my mom’s closet (where I was looking for them, of course). At that moment, a moment that is firmly embedded in my memory, I was both delighted and dismayed. I remember feeling extremely deflated for the following weeks preceding Christmas day. I never went looking for my presents again.
Waiting. This past Sunday marked the first Sunday in the Advent calendar, the period of waiting for the birth of Jesus all over again. We anticipate His coming, and in so doing, we look forward to His future coming. My kids and I spend this time marking each day off with a Jesse Tree, using The Advent Jesse Tree devotional book by Dean Meador Lambert, and I’m reading Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift, another Advent devotional, in my own quiet time. My kids and I have a snowman chalkboard hanging, on which we write the number of days left before Christmas every day.
All this purposeful waiting and anticipating allows me and my family the space to ponder the reason for Christmas. When I am tempted to be stressed by the busyness of decorating, buying presents, and preparing for a long trip to California, every day at least two or three times a day, I am reminded to rest and wait on God to give me what I need every day. He gave us all we need in Jesus on Christmas day.
I pray you’ll be full of joyful anticipation this Christmas season as you wait to see what God will do.