Happy Christmas Eve!

This time of year is so filled with hustle and bustle and duties and distractions that many may feel surprised that Christmas is already upon us. And yet Advent, the season preceding Christmas, is not about business or endless lists of tasks and various stresses. It’s about waiting.

Waiting. I feel like today this is a word that we don’t like all that much. It may even be a word that we aren’t very familiar with. The world encourages us to expect what we want when we want it. Why should we have to wait? There are things that we need and we need them now. Besides, waiting seems to suggest silence, and who has time for silence when there are so many things to be done?

 Advent is about waiting.

Waiting for what? Surely we are waiting for Christmas. Once a year, Christmas morning dawns and we exchange gifts and good cheer and get together with family and friends. That’s something worth waiting for, especially exciting because it occurs so infrequently. But is that all this waiting is about?

I think perhaps waiting can come to mean a little more to us this Christmas. Advent is about moving
from the darkness to the light. The world was waiting for light, for hope to lift it from the harsh reality of life grounded in human sin and imperfection into heavenly help and perfection. And this help, this perfection came in the form of a small, helpless, powerless, weak, little baby. This perfect gift came in a way that was surely not what the world was expecting.

A lot of our lives are spent waiting. We desire things we do not have: not merely material items, but situations, outcomes and imaginings of how our life is supposed to unfold. We wait for that moment when life actually matches what we had in mind, but maybe that moment is never coming. Maybe we are always waiting, but not for what we ourselves have planned.

Waiting can be a challenge. It’s difficult to want our future to look a certain way without any certainty of when or if this will ever happen. But this Christmas, what I want to remember is that God’s plan, His perfect plan for our lives does not always align with the world’s idea of what is good or right. God gave us the perfect gift on Christmas and He gives us gifts of beauty and love and joy and peace every single day and every single moment, but we have the choice to unwrap and appreciate these gifts or to toss them aside because they don’t correspond with the world’s standards.

We are always waiting, waiting to go at last to our final, everlasting home, but the time in between doesn’t have to be spent pining and longing and wishing and wanting. Instead, we can wait with love and joy and peace if we trust that God has a plan for our lives and is working things out for our best.

This Christmas, I want to thank God for giving us the perfect gift of Jesus, but I also want to look for all the little gifts He has given me and continues to give me while I wait for His perfect plan to unfold.

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