It’s Christmas Eve, and my 8-year-old son is desperate to open presents. Dorian’s been asking for a month to open his stocking (which I just stuffed two days ago). Waiting is soooooooo difficult. The anticipation is “killing” him, he says.
“Can’t we just open one? I just want to get Christmas started!”
Do you remember the growing desperation of childhood advent?
Or maybe your childhood was full of a different kind of desperate.
Maybe you’re in a season of desperate waiting as an adult.
“When will this be over? Can’t we just start moving out of this emotional/spiritual/physical season yet? When can I start seeing the light? When can I have my gift, God? When will your provision or healing or answer come?“
Christmas Eve is the culmination of Advent, the season of waiting. The final end to the desperation and yearning ache for a hope that won’t disappoint us. But prior to the celebration of the light is the waiting in darkness.
Like when I went hunting with my dad as a kid. Getting up earlier than I’d ever been awake before, wearing layer after layer, driving out into the woods, excitement growing, climbing into the tree stand, and…
Waiting in the dark.
Waiting in the dark and the cold.
When every minute felt like hours and an hour felt like a week. The excitement wore off and I wished I’d stayed in bed.
But then I realized I could see the tree next to ours. Then the tree beyond that, and the ground below. Then the edge of the field. I’d never been so thankful to see a tree, or corn-stubble before.
Finally the yellow sun started streaming through the bare trees. Just the color was enough to start warming me long before the rays touched my face.
I was so painfully aware of my waiting for dawn. My son is so painfully aware of his waiting for Christmas. You are so painfully aware of your waiting.
All my desperation in the tree stand didn’t make the right time for the sun to rise happen any faster. All of Dorian’s desperation doesn’t bring the time for opening gifts any sooner, but I’ve noticed that the closer we get to Christmas, the harder it is for me to wait for the right time to give him his gifts.
I love him.
I want to give him his gifts.
I feel a different desperate.
The desperation of the giver, waiting for the right time to present the gift. I know he will be relieved when his father and I finally say it’s time to open presents. I know he will love the gifts. I know he will light up and smile and shout and enjoy this expression of our love for him.
Dorian thinks any time is a good time for Christmas gifts. Dorian wants me to give him the gifts as soon as I buy them. He says he wouldn’t mind if I didn’t wrap them.
But I know different, and as hard as it is for him to wait, it’s hard for me to wait too.
I wonder if God feels the desperation of the giver?
He loves us.
He wants to give us his gifts.
He wanted to give us himself.
I wonder if God was also desperately awaiting the right time to give us Jesus? Keenly aware of the suffering of all his creation, suffering with all of us while we wait, planning for rescue and waiting for the right time…
As his children we think any time is a good time for a gift.
But God knows different, and as hard as it is for us to wait, I bet it’s hard for him to wait too.
But it’ll be worth it.
I hope if you are feeling desperate this Christmas that you start to see the trees all around you. I hope the colors of light are enough promise to keep you looking until you start feeling the difference. I hope you choose to be thankful for these tiny signs of God’s presence with you, his waiting with you, his suffering with you. I hope the gift of his Son marks the beginning of change in your season. I hope you find freedom to celebrate in the midst of your waiting, and your celebrations bring you joy.
I hope you hope again.