I've always loved December. Living in Australia, it’s summer, the end of the school year so we always had our long summer break over December/January. It’s also my birthday month and … it’s Christmas.
I still recall those days approaching Christmas when the presents used to begin to pile up under the tree. Most of them were for dad, he’s a doctor and all his patients bought him presents. Every year. But my sister and two brothers were more excited by what Santa would put in the pillow slips that sat at the end of our beds.
We’d struggle to sleep we were that excited. But mom always warned us that Santa wouldn’t arrive until we were fast asleep.
And then when we woke, far too early for mom and dad, we’d have to wait until they arose before we could open all the goodies in those magical pillowslips.
We had to wait.
The anticipation. The excitement … was electric.
The season of Advent has commenced. Advent simply means: “coming” or “arrival” – of Jesus.
But as most of us know Jesus didn’t arrive without a long, long wait. Four hundred years in fact. That’s how long the Israelites had to wait.
The four-week season of Advent reflects a time of waiting. We don’t like to wait, do we? Especially if it’s for something important or critical, a test result, an answer to prayer, our pre-believing spouse to meet Jesus, and so on.
“While God rarely comes at our appointed time, he comes at the right time.” (Louis Giglio)
Waiting in the Busy
December is often a frantic month. Besides finishing end of year projects there is the added weight of present buying, parties to attend, gatherings with family and friends. All around us there are reminders of what is coming: the lights, the decorations, the music, the extra crowded malls and our own stress levels.
But what is the gift we are expecting? Or more precisely, who is the gift? Who is arriving?
Remember those days of childlike anticipation, the sense of wonder, on that day? Christmas Day.
A little challenge
In amongst the busyness of December find some time to sit in the Lord’s presence. Allow yourself to recall such days of anticipation, when you couldn’t help but smile. For hours at a time.
He’s coming. Jesus. For you. He’s especially chosen you. You who are holy and dearly loved.
To assist you, read the story of when Mary received a very special and unusual visitor, Gabriel, in Luke 1:26-38. Let go of everything else that’s going on around you. Really desire to hear from God and ask the Spirit to speak to you. Picture yourself in Mary’s place. Imagine the awesomeness of the situation, listen to Gabriel’s words and what they mean.
Write down what you heard, how you felt.
We’d love to hear some of your responses in the comments.
Perhaps do it a few times over the next four weeks. Allow “the words of Christ to dwell in you richly.”
Wishing all of my SUMite friends a joyful Advent season full of childlike wonder and anticipation.