In our culture’s mad rush to start the Christmas season, I am left feeling a bit Scrooge-like. I like Advent. The anticipation that gradually builds as candle after candle are lit on the Advent wreath adds to the beauty of Christmas when it finally arrives. If we jump headlong into Christmas right after Thanksgiving, I believe we miss part of the joy of the season. Waiting has a sweet longing to it and I want that sweetness for as long as I can have it.
As a child, I remember the eagerness as I would watch the presents beneath the tree grow as time passed. My younger sister and I would check to find the ones with our names and then try to analyze what was inside. It was tempting to tear the wrapping off, but we didn’t. The soft, foldable presents were obviously clothes. Yet the ones in boxes? Those were unidentifiable. We would give them a light shake and then simply wonder about what lay nestled inside for us to discover. The waiting was half the fun. Even if I wanted to figure out what the present was before Christmas (my competitive nature desired to win), I also wanted to be surprised.
I won’t argue that I’m extremely patient, however I appreciate waiting for something good. When I get my mail, I am excited if I find a letter from a friend or a package that I ordered. Yet I generally open the less fun things first, allowing the excitement and longing for the most desired thing to build. After trick-or-treating at Halloween when I was a kid, I tried to eat my least favorite candies first, saving the best for last. Even now, I often find myself saving a bite of the best part of the meal for the end, as if to end the meal on a good note. Waiting doesn’t change the contents of the letter or the taste of the food, but it seems to add a bit of sweetness as I anticipate what is to come. Continue reading “Advent: What Lies Ahead”