I think someone should do a study on perception of time in the month of December. I swear it went by oh-so-slowly when I was in grade school and the beautiful promise of an entire week off of school made December crawl. Now the month zooms by with just enough time to get the tree decorated after work, make cookies for a Christmas party, and finish that gargantuan Amazon order so everything arrives on time. But I think as I’ve gotten older, I’ve lost that sense of the sweetness developed by spending those days waiting, waiting, waiting until that calendar said December 24.
Throw into that mess my singleness and a longing for being home somewhere, and voila! you have the recipe for a December emotional train wreck. And it shows up at the weirdest times: my roommate and I were decorating our apartment’s Christmas tree with all of its mismatched ornaments and apron-turned-into-tree-skirt glory, and I couldn’t help but wonder how many Christmases will be marked by transience instead of tradition. Pondering the possibility that the answer might be “many” did not bring any sort of sweet anticipation to my heart.
But maybe that’s because, I’ve lost a childlike wonder and childlike anticipation for God’s character and His good gifts. This season is the celebration of His very best gift – evidence that His love is limitless and full and comes after us, even when we’re train wrecks.
Maybe I’ve forgotten that waiting is part of the Christian experience. Paul says all of creation is waiting eagerly for the final unveiling (Romans 8:19). And on top of that, God’s timing is always perfect: “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law so that we might receive adoption as sons.”(Galatians 4:4-5).
As a child, waiting for Christmas was hard because I knew that Christmas morning was so absolutely glorious and full of beautiful surprises. Should it really be that different this Christmas season, no matter what my circumstances? I have been adopted as His daughter, redeemed from the curse of the Law and promised that those who seek Him lack no good thing. He has plans for me that are for good, and He will set all things right. Now that’s something to look forward to!
As we fast and pray this week, let’s pray that He fills our Advent season, even its emotional chasms, with an eager, joyful, expectant longing for Himself — the only gift that will satisfy our heart’s deepest needs.