Waiting is a challenge.
I was stalwart in refusing to embrace Christmas until Thanksgiving was properly celebrated (however, I might have been on a Trans Siberian Orchestra Christmas mix binge for a couple of weeks… just maybe). I defended Thanksgiving, determined to observe and celebrate the bountiful blessings we enjoy. I really felt- and still feel- that giving thanks is important. Important enough to push everything else aside and really embrace gratitude.
Thanksgiving was worth the wait. It was almost all I hoped for. There were a few disappointments involved but the joy of family and food and fun, the blessing of fellowship and gratitude was all good.
Hope, like waiting, is challenging.
I think hope and waiting are related. After all, they both involve something yet to come. We wait in hope but are sometimes a little afraid to hope too much, afraid of being disappointed. I mean, after waiting for a hope and then not having it meet high expectations, can really send us into a tailspin if we aren’t careful. But keeping our eyes on the over-all source of blessings and purposely enjoying what we do have enables us to embrace those right-now-blessings. “… my hope is in You.” (Psalms 39:7).
So, yes. Thanksgiving was great!
Now suddenly, I’m beyond ready to put up lights and trees and decorations. I want to buy presents for everyone and give to those in need. I’m excited for our family time and heartbroken for so many people affected by floods and fires and violence. I cry for the sad but happy things bring tears too. I cry at memories of dear ones gone. I tear up over familiar music that touches my heart and encourages my soul. I cry at memories of tough times lived through, and cry in gratitude for being on the other side. And through it all, I wait. We wait. Like a little kid, if left to myself, I’d probably explode, or implode, or both at once.
So, we enter another season of waiting. I’m ok with waiting for Christmas. I’m not at all “ready”. I want to enjoy the wonder, the emotions, the preparation. I especially want to prepare. Prepare my heart. Prepare the house with decorations. Prepare gifts for giving! Prepare food for sharing! The thing is, am I preparing with busy-ness or am I preparing in the Hope of celebrating Jesus’ birthday? Is the preparation overtaking the waiting with hurry? My goal is to wait and prepare in peace.
I’m seeing all kinds of paradoxes in waiting. One thing is sure, though. Waiting is inevitable. And I believe we are meant to wait in hope; wait, abiding in the Lord and trusting Him that whatever we are awaiting will be good.