“It is going to take forever for Christmas to get here.” That is the way, as a child, December felt. The time that seemed to take the longest was when my parents would put the gifts under the tree. They would typically do this at least a week prior to us opening them. Every time I walked past the tree would be a painful reminder that I had to wait.
One particular time comes to mind when I was 15 years old. I wanted a digital watch with alarms, timers, and a stop watch. For whatever reason, I NEEDED it. Surprisingly, a week before Christmas I found a package under the tree that was the size of a watch box and it had my name on it! Eventually, curiosity got the best of me. I found a time when no one was around and I carefully peeled back the tape from the wrapping paper and sneaked a peak. No one would notice. Under the careful packaging I discovered a Timex Ironman Triathalon digital watch! Filled with joy, I quickly put the tape and paper back in place and pretended that nothing happened.
When it came time for us to open our presents I no longer wondered what I was receiving. I received the box and acted surprised when I opened it. Sadly, the joy and anticipation in my spirit was gone because I opened the gift before it was meant to be mine. As I reflected on what Nick Dorland said this past Sunday about waiting, I wondered how I could have waited differently for all of those years, which opportunities I missed by being so focused on myself, and the joy I missed by seeking the knowledge of gifts before it was my time to receive them.
As followers of Christ, might we face a similar situation as we wait on His promises? Might we get focused on ourselves and try to get things before we are meant to have them? During this time of waiting, Nick suggested some ways we can be while we wait:
- Be personally transformed: read God’s word, the Bible, and receive the power of the Holy Spirit for an ever changing life
- Live out justice and righteousness: bring restoration to our families, neighborhoods, community, and world
- Proclaim: tell others what you have seen God do
Might there be ways to try these on as we wait for Christmas? At the same time, while we wait, let’s not forget to remember, as Nick said, to “live joyfully as those treasured by God.”
Isaiah 61:8–11 New Living Translation (NLT)
8 “For I, the Lord, love justice. I hate robbery and wrongdoing. I will faithfully reward my people for their suffering and make an everlasting covenant with them. 9 Their descendants will be recognized and honored among the nations. Everyone will realize that they are a people the Lord has blessed.” 10 I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding or a bride with her jewels. 11 The Sovereign Lord will show his justice to the nations of the world. Everyone will praise him! His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring, with plants springing up everywhere. New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.