It must be awful for my kids. The day after Thanksgiving we told them that the Christmas season had started. But we then let them know it would be another month before the opening of presents. My 7 year old daughter looked a little downcast while my 4 year old son asked, “What’s a monf“? Confused, he joined his older sister in her determined impatience. The waiting is indeed the hardest part.
I remember looking through catalogs as a kid and staring longingly at the same circled toys again and again. I’d turn the page and look at another and then do it again. The girl’s section would emerge and I’d quickly start over again. All those longings merged into dreams of all the joy to be had when Santa came. The patience was painful.
Only the accoutrements of Christmas could tide me over till the day. Lights. Trees. Candy. Charlie Brown Christmas specials. Black and white Christmas movies. Parties. Paul McCartney’s ‘Wonderful Christmas Time.’ And peering into the wrinkled pages of a Sears Wish Book.
My wife says I’m a ten year old boy trapped in a man’s body. Just because I want a wii and Beatles Rock Band for Christmas is no indication. But I do still long for Christmas. The waiting is still difficult.
Christmas has always been full of waiting. The Israelites waiting for the Messiah. Mary waiting nine months. Joseph waiting for Mary. Herod waiting to hear from the Wise Men. Even now we wait for Jesus to come again. Waiting for something to come is inextricably linked to the Christmas experience.
Isn’t it funny how for kids all the lights and trees and songs not only tell of the promise of what is waited for but also make the waiting really hard. Every twinkling light is a reminder of shiny new toys with buttons and blinking lights. The songs sing of presents and the joy of that morning. The tree is a towering promise of dreams nourished on hope just waiting to be fulfilled.
And so the waiting. Just like we wait for what is to come. And here we are – never knowing and understanding how long. Songs reminds us of the bliss. Every taste of choice fare is a reverse echo of what is coming. Trees remind us of the towering promises of God’s faithfulness proven upon a tree. And so we wait until that day.