Christmas is almost over.
I know, it’s barely even lunchtime (depending on how long it takes me to whip this post together) but it feels like Christmas season started right around the time we got done with Halloween. Stores put up decorations, people started countdowns, and some radio stations even started playing Christmas music. Even if you’re totally against Christmas decorations and carols until December 24th, I feel like the complaints at how early we start preparing for Christmas are just as much a part of the season as Will Ferrell in green and yellow tights.
So if you think about it that way, Christmas is almost over.
We spend a lot of time waiting for Christmas, whether we believe we’re celebrating the birth of our Savior, the peak of American consumerism, or a month away from college. Starting as early as mid-October, a sense of anticipation begins to build. We get more and more excited to see family, to open presents, to finally be done listening to version after version of “Let It Snow.”
We might not even realize it, but we’re catching onto one of the biggest themes of Advent.
Advent is a time of waiting. It’s a time of groaning and striving for a savior, and maybe we miss the mark on just what it is we’re waiting for, but we’ve mastered the waiting part.
Growing up, I was really good at waiting for things. I’m not saying I was especially patient or composed, though. I’m saying I could always find something to which I could count down the days. Whether it was Christmas, summer vacation, or my birthday, I’d wait and imagine what it would be like when the day finally came. I’d make my own calendar using magic marker and scrap paper and cross boxes out as each day passed by.
And then I’d get to the last box, and before I knew it, the thing I’d been waiting for was over.
So I’d go back to the calendar and find something else to wait for.
As I got older, I found other things to wait for. Graduation, marriage, and a full-time job all danced in my head and in my dreams. I tried to tell myself not to wish my life away. I needed to enjoy the moment.
But there’s always been something inside me that just wants to pine after things.
Something that wants to groan in anticipation.
Something that wants to wait.
And I wonder if that’s because God put that there. I wonder if there’s something inside of all of us that’s in tense anticipation. We think we’re waiting for Christmas, for the weekend, for the next big blockbuster to release, but maybe we’re waiting for something much deeper than all of that. Maybe we’re waiting for true rest, fulfillment, and peace. Paul talks about all of creation groaning in anticipation of things being made right, and I wonder if that’s what he’s getting at.
Deep down, what we’re really waiting for is as simple as the Lord’s Prayer.
Your kingdom come.