I suppose I should be used to waiting by now and I guess I’m getting better at it, but I don’t like to wait. I remember as a kid how hard it was to wait during the days leading up to Christmas morning. I can still remember checking the presents each time a new one appeared under the tree.
I had this down to an art form, studying the gift, checking the tag twice, to make sure my it was for me; sizing up the box’s shape and dimensions and then picking it up and shaking it! Does it fit the specifications of the gift I was hoping to receive?
I knew from a young age that a really big box with my name on it was always better than the little boxes. So when I took inventory, I always had to factor in the size versus quantity conversion. And then I had to deduct those presents that might have socks or underwear in them; those don’t count! And of course I had to inventory my presents in comparison to those for my sister or brother, to see if they had more gifts than me, because that just wouldn’t be right!
There was more to this than just a passing glance as I walked by the tree. I had to check to make sure all the gifts had arrived from the relatives. It was all part of the waiting and hoping process. t was pretty stressful for a kid!
My inspection routine would increase in length and frequency as Christmas morning grew closer. My mother would try to chase me away whenever she saw hanging around three, or she would try to distract me, giving the appropriate warning about Santa not coming. Like that ever worked!
As a kid I always thought what was in those boxes was everything I was hoping to receive; that I would be happy if I could just get that for which I was waiting. But the feeling of happiness was not what I expected, it didn’t last. When all the presents had been unwrapped I was still hoping for something more.
You might think that’s just part of being a child but as I grew up, I experienced the same empty feeling over and over again; always hoping, but never really feeling satisfied.
If I could just have a new mustang bike, with a banana seat, then I’d be happy. I saved money from my paper route, bought the bike, but the bike didn’t satisfy my heart. Later, I thought, if I could just go on a date with Shawna Cooper; it was nice, but that didn’t do it either. If I could just find a good paying job, a nice car, a house, I would be satisfied. It was never enough. There was always a sense of emptiness.
I’m not a kid anymore, but I still have to wait. However, I no longer hope for ‘things’ to satisfy me. I still enjoy many of things I’ve been given, but I’m just not looking for those things to fill the longings of my heart. Instead, I have found something that really does satisfy, something that gives my life meaning and purpose, something I can hold on to through the ups and downs of life; a hope that doesn’t fade. It’s a hope that is rooted in the Christmas Story; a Story that has changed my life.
I wonder if you’ll find what you’re hoping for this Christmas. You might not find it under a tree but if you look around, if you open your eyes and heart, you just might find it in the wonder and beauty of the Christmas Story.
May this season of waiting, lead you back to manger, back to Bethlehem, for to you a Savior has been born! (Luke 2:11)