Waiting For Christmas
It felt like Christmas began on November 1st this year as soon as the Halloween candy went on "reduced-price" sale in department stores.
And so began the wait for the arrival of December 25th.
I've been reminded a lot recently that Christmas in many ways is about - waiting.
Now I don't just mean waiting for eggnog, mistletoes, and Christmas presents under a tree. I am referring to something a tad bit more important (though eggnog is amazing!).
Christmas is a day in which we remember and celebrate when God became man so many years ago.
And that evening when God entered the world through a woman was a day that millions of people had waited for with anticipation for years.
The Jews had waited for centuries for their Messiah to arrive and save them.
The wise men traveled for years in pursuit of this coming King whom they had heard prophecies about.
Mary waited with expectation for nine months (give or take) for her son to enter the world.
And all of humanity has been waiting since the beginning of human existence for the Son of God to fix God's Creation.
In many ways Christmas is about waiting. And while that waiting can come to a beautiful fruition, there is something we can all learn in waiting - in the time of tension and expectation.
Waiting shows us what is most important to us and teaches us to dwell in the discomfort of life.
It is in that discomfort and tension where we can actually thrive.
It is where we can sharpen our skills and develop our weaknesses.
And when we learn to conquer our discomfort in that time of waiting, we are able to make wiser choices than others, make progress when others are stiff with indecision, and push through fears rather than be paralyzed by them.
Waiting can be a time of frustration or silence or disorientation.
But when we make peace with waiting, we can throw off many of those debilitating factors.
And how do we do that?
Wait in hope.
Wait with the realization that how life is now is not how life will always be. That better days/people/situations are ahead...that a better you is ahead of you as well.
Rather than allowing the frustrations of the present to dictate your attitude and actions, live today as if tomorrow was already here.
Live into the future.
Wait today knowing as if the future is already here.
The Jews lived for centuries and through terrible times in expectation of the Messiah.
The wise men endured their long-distance journey in expectation of the Messiah.
Mary endured the numerous trials of pregnancy in expectation of the Messiah.
So what are you waiting for in life? Is it a new relationship? For a relationship to end? For a better job? A promotion? A child? A vacation? A holiday? A new political leader? A cultural change?
Whatever you are waiting for, you can find hope in the Messiah who came 2,000 years ago.
Jesus brought us new life - a better life. A life that is not perfect and happy every day, but a life that can still thrive in the waiting.
A life that is fulfilled in the coming of the Messiah, and nothing else.
In the tension, pause, silence, and frustration of this season, we can have hope.
Just like the Jews, the wise men, and Mary.
So embrace whatever season of waiting you are in. Refuse to allow it to own you.
And live today infused with the hope of tomorrow.