As I get older, and as I watch my children grow up, time sure moves faster than it used to. At the same time, I seem to do a lot of waiting. Waiting for my kids to listen, waiting for flu shots to be available, waiting for something to be on sale, waiting to finish seminary, and waiting for my husband to come home from Iraq.
In Advent in particular, as Christians, we do a lot of waiting. We await the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, with anticipation and excitement. We count down the days until Christmas on Advent Calendars with our children and grandchildren. We wait for this special time in the life of our church and in our lives as Christians when we welcome the arrival of our Savior and Lord.
There is much to be appreciated, enjoyed, and even learned in the waiting, however. When asked in youth group recently about a moment in life they might freeze and remember forever, at least two of our middle school students described moments prior to Christmas. It’s the Christmas Eves they remembered, the candlelight and music during worship or the peace and stillness of falling snow. Not a single person mentioned big toys, loud presents, or even Christmas Day itself. It was the waiting, the meaning of the anticipation, that filled their hearts and that they remembered.
I learned this lesson when my husband, Brian, was in Afghanistan in 2006. It was a challenging time for me, raising a strong-willed two year old on my own. When I look back on it, however, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Our time together brought us closer together; it was in that waiting that Grace and I really figured each other out, and it was one of my most precious times with my oldest daughter.
This Advent, I hope that you take time to take in the waiting. Anticipate our celebration of the birth of Jesus, but ask God to draw you closer to Him during the waiting and anticipation of that special day. I pray that you find meaning in the waiting, and that your hearts are already filled with joy, as we arrive at Christmas.
Peace be with you,