The Wait Is Almost Over, Are You Ready?

Yesterday, my littlest boy was allowed to wear his pajamas to school.  As he was putting on his jacket and shoes, he informed me that it was the "last day of school," and then he rummaged around in his backpack and pulled out a ticket to the "Polar Express" party he was going to be attending.

"If I didn't have this ticket," he told me, "I'd have to go to another class instead." 

Usually, when he rolls away on his bike in the morning, he's not all that thrilled.  He's not a morning person, you see.  But yesterday morning he peddled away with a grin on his face and joyful fierceness in the way he rode.

I looked at the calendar in disbelief this morning.  December 21st.  Four more days until Christmas.

No wonder he was so happy.  He knows that Christmas is just days away.  All of the waiting, the excitement, the anticipation is just days away.  It's about to happen. 

My wife and I are doing our best to help our boys stay grounded in the real reason for this season of anticipation.  We light the candles on our Advent wreath each night that we gather for dinner.  We almost always sing a stanza of "O Come Emmanuel" while staring at the flickering flames together.  

And we try to teach them that what we are all waiting for isn't just a day of tearing into packages, or a really good meal.  It's more than dinner with friends, lights, or the smell of woodsmoke in the air on a chilly evening.  

What we are waiting for is for the world to be turned upside down.  We are waiting for all that is wrong to be made right.  We are waiting to see our hopes realized, and our joy fulfilled.  

Brennan Manning said it far better than I could: 
Because all the Santa Clauses and red-nosed reindeer, fifty-foot trees and thundering church bells put together create less pandemonium than the infant Jesus when, instead of remaining a statue in a crib, he comes alive and delivers us over to the fire that he came to light. 
Advent is almost at an end.  It's time to get ready for a brave new world.  It's time to open our hearts to the transforming light and life of the Son of God, Jesus himself.  It's time to expect the unexpected.  

May it be so for you.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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