JT is anxiously waiting for his brother and sister to get home from school.
Erik is waiting for the landscape people to call him back.
I am waiting for my parents to arrive.
It seems like we are all waiting, for one thing or another.
Kids all over the city are waiting for it to snow, for Christmas break to arrive and Santa to come.
Parents are waiting for packages to arrive, checks to clear the bank and schedules to lesson.
Friends I dearly love are waiting to say their final good byes to a loved one.
Soon to be mommy's are waiting to meet their babies.
Everyone is waiting.
At this time of the year, more than any other, I can feel the tension in the air. I feel the anticipation, and I love it!
It is in the waiting that I find joy, perhaps not always happiness, but always joy. There is a difference.
You may not find happiness in waiting in lines, waiting for traffic, or waiting for things to go on sale. You may not find happiness in waiting for the kids to go to bed so you can do all the things that need to be done that their little eyes shouldn't see. But you just might find joy.
There is joy in knowing you are doing something special for someone you love. There is joy when you find the perfect gift. There is joy when you stay up late to make a special memory for your child. There is joy when you give grace to a stranger in a store who certainly didn't deserve it and may not even recognize. There is joy.
There is joy in the eyes of your heavenly father each and every time he sees you do one of these seemingly endless things we do during the Holidays.
So many people argue that Christmas today is too commercialized, to secular, and I don't disagree. But remember, God does calls his people to celebrate. He called the Israelites to hold festivals that often lasted for days if not weeks, to celebrate, to all congregate at one place and have a big old party! And I bet it was crowded, and traffic was horrible (SO glad the car I was stuck behind today wasn't a donkey with bad gas!). I bet there were times during those festivals that tempers were quick, schedules were busy and people just wanted quiet. But God wanted them to celebrate! He commanded them to celebrate, not just for a day, but for days on end. And there was joy.
Imagine, just imagine how much those young little children of Israel must have anticipated those festivals, counting down the days till they would leave. Just waiting. How the moms and dads must have had SO MUCH to do to prepare to travel (BY FOOT) to where the festival was being held. Think about how the families they were traveling to see, distant relatives, they only saw during the festivals, must have waited so anxiously for them to come. Just waiting.
The Israelites spent centuries just waiting. Waiting for a messiah, a savior, someone who would rescue them and set them free. And come he did, though not in the way they thought he would.
We are promised in the scriptures that this messiah, this savior will come again, and so we find ourselves once again waiting.
Sometimes I am struck by how little has changed in the last 2000 years.