The weeks leading from Thanksgiving to Christmas are full of anticipation.
Kids counting down until the magical morning arrives.
Parents checking online orders and hoping for timely deliveries.
Ministers preparing for each meaningful Advent service.
Teachers, police officers, postal workers, garbage men, retail clerks…all kinda wishing the best but enduring the worst of the holiday hype.
Anticipation. Waiting and hoping.
I snapped the picture below at the local garden store on November 25. The Christmas tree delivery was due the next day.
I loved the depiction of eager expectation. Little metal posts extended like open arms, waiting to hug their trees. They know what’s coming, and they know it’s going to be good.
Likewise, the buds on this Christmas cactus are preparing for their days of glory.
Once a year, they share their beauty with the world around them. Their tiny nub of a bud slowly swells with natural enthusiasm and explodes a bloom of brilliant cheer.
Christmas can lose its thrill for adults. We know all the gifts…few surprises there. We have to shop for the gifts, wrap the gifts, hide the gifts, assemble the gifts…and clean up after the gifts. This season can turn into a season of toil instead of joy.
But let us not lose our anticipation. With the disappointment of adulthood also comes the wisdom that it’s not all about Christmas morning. It’s about what happened that night. It’s about the journey, the baby, the news…none of that was very thrilling to the adults involved. They were burdened with the journey, labored with the baby, and confused by the news. But they knew there was a deeper meaning of it all. It meant change was coming…for the future world.
Let us reflect on what is to come, not what is happening now. It’s not about the present(s), it’s about the future. We don’t know what that holds. That’s still a surprise…and God is going to take care of that! Let us lift up our arms and hearts to receive that good news. Let us allow our hearts to swell with natural enthusiasm…and explode with brilliant cheer.
Watchful waiting. Eager excitement. Anticipating Advent.