Remember as a child, waiting for Christmas to come? We were distracted and occupied by the excitement of Halloween, then the preparations for Thanksgiving. But after the turkey was eaten and the leftovers wrapped and packed away, Christmas and all it's trappings were dead in our sights!
The days on the calendar were checked off. As each block was counted down, the pile of gifts stacked up proportionally. Every day one more house on the block was bedecked in lights and garland.
The wait was excruciating. Curiosity was painful; the anticipation was like an electric current running throughout our bodies, making us tense and excited. Trying to complete schoolwork was next to impossible, distracted by the thoughts of what was in all those decorated boxes. The closer Christmas came the worse it got with the anxiety and "what-ifs" and "what-if-nots" stampeding through our emotions.
I've been waiting for "Christmas" to come for a long time. Earlier in my life, I was distracted by work and activities that kept my mind, body and emotions busy. But they no longer work. I'll be 52 in a few months, all the major "holidays" behind me. The only one looming is "Christmas". Only this "Christmas" doesn't have a specific date on the calendar on which I can pinpoint being able to open my gift. There's no way to countdown. Every day is painful, as I look for signs that "Christmas" is coming. I don't know if it ever will come for me.
My pain is compounded by the fact most all of my friends have already had their celebrations. Now their children are enjoying their holidays, as the parents look on sharing in their joy and remembering their own "Christmas". I'm still anxiously waiting, wondering if there is a gift for me or am I not supposed to ever celebrate my own "Christmas". I've had a gift waiting for someone, wrapped and ready; but no one seems to want it.
Every moment I'm on edge - curious, wondering if and when...and why. At this age, after so long a wait, it's mostly "why?". My prayers usually consist of two words - my heart not able to voice anything else but "Why?" and "Please!" I repeat them over and over again, almost like a mantra. Only this mantra does not bring comfort or peace.
Is this how Jesus feels - the gift He has to offer so many don't notice or outright reject? Is this what it means to share in His suffering?
To climb out of this vat of self-pity I need to remind myself of the first Christmas 2000 years ago, when the King of Kings lowered himself and volunteered for a messy human birth followed by a messy human life, ending with a humiliating death reserved for criminals, not innocent Kings. I need to remind myself that though I do not know the date or time or even if "Christmas" will come, the King of Kings knows the plan He has for me. His plan ends with a great celebration that surpasses any Christmas that we can plan on earth.
I wait with electric anticipation.