Be patient, therefore, until the coming of the Lord … James 5:7
Now that the calendar page is flipped to December the ultimate test of patience has come. I hang out with children each day and I am keenly aware that the first 24 days of December can be torturously long for them. They wait all year for Christmas and the last few weeks can seem like an eternity to them. I realized a few years ago they have something as children that we as adults seem to have lost. I can’t recall a single time when I’ve seen a group of twenty adults reduced to spontaneous laughter, giggling and wide-eyed excitement at the mere mention of a single word, but yet every day of December I can see it happen in my classroom when someone says the word…Christmas. They are instantly filled with joy, excitement and hope. They lose sight of everything else in the world while a Christmas discussion is taking place. Sometimes I say, “let’s count the days” just to hear them laugh and take a deep breath while they fix their eyes on the date December 25th. It’s so innocent and sincere…I have such a great job!
The kids get excited about the songs they will be singing in the school Christmas musical, knowing that their songs will help tell the story of Jesus’birth. They’re excited about being a shepherd or an angel at the children’s Christmas Eve Mass. They’re excited about the simple gifts they will lovingly make for their parents and they can’t wait to talk about all the exciting things they are seeing and doing to prepare. For them, it truly isn’t just about Santa and presents. They see it as more and it’s my awesome responsibility to help them see HOW MUCH more it really is!
They are excited about the things we as adults sometimes dread. We worry about the schedules, concerts, parties, shopping, presents and they see them as a important parts of the celebration and excitement of the season. I think there are two keys to the whole crazy thing. First, we need to stop and realize what we’re supposed to be excited about. Second, we need to be patient and enjoy the waiting and preparing. If the purpose of it all is to get ready for a King and to prepare to celebrate His coming, every last little detail should be done for His glory! The fine folks at BustedHalo.com produced a fabulous 2 minute Advent video and I was struck by the words "if you're tired of Christmas by December 25th, you haven't done Advent right."
The kids don’t worry about whether everything matches, coordinates or reflects the most recent Martha Steward holiday décor trend; that takes too much time and energy for them. When the kids are making their parents Christmas gift there is never a thought about fashion, utility, practicality or impression. They just use two pounds of glue and a half-a-cup of glitter and know that their parents will love it because they made it out of love for them. They don’t understand all there is to know about the Word Incarnate, they are just excited that a baby came and it was the most important baby EVER!
Maybe it’s because I’m getting old, or maybe it’s because my kids are growing up but I’m learning so much about the joy of Christmas through the excited eyes of my first graders. They are teaching me to be patient this Advent. I will ask to grow in patience because I really want my heart to be ready for the miracle of Christmas this year. I want to be ready to open the gift of God’s love on Christmas Eve with an enthusiasm and delight I haven’t felt since I opened my first baby doll. I want to be patient because I want to
use this time of Advent to prepare myself and my little first grade lovelies to understand how amazing the promise of Jesus’ coming really is. Finally I want to be patient because people learn by our example and our actions and not so much by our words. I keep thinking that if we do this right, maybe, just maybe, we will be able to continue the excitement and hope of Jesus’ coming all year.
A seed to plant: Take a look at your December to do list and carefully ask yourself which things you’re doing out of obligation, and which things you’re doing to prepare for the coming of a Savior. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to “re-do” your “to-do”list. Be patient…Jesus is coming!
Blessings on your day!
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