i think it's no secret by this point that i love christmas. i generally begin listening to festive tunes around the beginning of september and spend the months leading up to thanksgiving (when it's actually legal to most normal people to officially embrace the season) pouring over magazines, websites, books, and etsy pages preparing for the one month each year when everything in the world is a little bit more beautiful. but sometimes, once christmas time actually comes, it just doesn't feel like christmas. the world is still full of injustice and sadness, my bills don't stop coming, and my workload generally only increases. i hate the feeling that the season is slipping away and i'm not soaking up every second of lights, cookies, parties, presents, and family in a festive buddy-the-elf-like stupor. this year especially, it's been difficult for me to grab a hold of the wonder of the season; that feeling of i-absolutely-might-burst excitement surrounding these fleeting days leading up to christmas.
one part of christmas that often gets lost in the shuffle, but one which i have come to love in recent years, is the celebration not just of the birth of christ, but that of advent, or the four-week celebration in preparation for christ's birth. i love advent because it observes the waiting, the anticipation and the excitement as we approach the celebration of the birth of Christ. additionally, it encourages us to focus on Christ's second coming with the same watchful, waiting eye. this year it's been difficult for me to recapture the utter euphoria i once felt waiting for santa's arrival, but i haven't been able to shake the feeling that my childish anticipation of his visit mirrors the way i should look to Christ's coming - both first and second - during this season. (an obvious parallel i would argue to any parent who doesn't want their children to believe in santa claus.) baby Jesus didn't bring me an american girl doll or a barbie minivan, or a new pair of jcrew boots (hint hint); instead, he brought with him the greatest gift humankind could have ever asked for. shouldn't i spend this season so excited to celebrate the arrival of this gift that, as i once did waiting for santa, i can focus on nothing else?
this year especially, i feel the burden of waiting. i've been laid off at work, i have no boyfriend to speak of, and my future is unclear. while none of this is making me feel especially christmasy, i am grateful that i've been given time to wait. there's so much i can learn from the waiting and the excitement of anticipating the Lord's provision in my life is overwhelming. God's people waited for longer than seemed necessary for a Savior. and then, finally, after years and years of waiting, God's promise was fulfilled and changed life as we know it. when i was young, i spent december wishing away the weeks leading up to the 25th - and most of the time it felt like it would never, ever, come. now, i spend december wishing time would slow down so that my favorite time of year doesn't pass by so quickly. in this time of advent, i'm going to wait and remember God's faithfulness and work to not wish away this time of transition. hopefully, along the way i'll find the same child-like excitement i once had and can celebrate on saturday morning a gift that lasts far beyond anything i'll ever unwrap under the tree.