Thursday, December 24, 2015
Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. 1 John 3:2(NLT)
Winter solstice (the shortest day of the year) was just a few days ago, which means the longest day – the summer solstice – won’t happen for six months. But, despite the solstice positions of heavenly bodies in the universe, Christmas Eve has always been the longest day of the year for me. It’s just that now it’s for a different reason.
As children we were all impatient; my parents, my generation, the next generation; all! We have all asked from the back seat of the car: Are we there yet?
I can recall a Sunday afternoon in the 1950’s my brother Thom and I were in that back seat, and I just couldn’t wait for the driving to be done, so I could get out and play. My Dad, longsuffering over the complaints I raised, tried to make the trip bearable.
He said: Close your eyes, boys.
I said: Why?
He said: Just do it, you’ll see.
I said: Do I have to?
It went on that way until I heard that tone….Russell Jay Brownworth!!
When all 3 names came out that way, I knew it was time to be quiet; I’d pushed the envelope far enough!
In my snit, I never even noticed as the car played roller coaster, up-and-then-down through a dip in the road. Dad was trying for a pleasant diversion to make the trip enjoyable; his ten year old son was doing his best to make everyone else miserable.
I was pretty good at it! I just don’t like waiting.
The longest wait in recorded history (for me) was always Christmas Eve. Of course, it was the excitement of waking up to Christmas morning and family coming, a special breakfast treat, day off from school and all that; but there was also the TREE.
Ours was usually a humble celebration; Mom and Dad didn’t mortgage the farm to overwhelm us with gifts. However, there was a rhythm and pattern to the way we opened Christmas gifts. Each person opened a package in turn, and we all watched and celebrated with the one who now had new socks or a new hat. It was deliberately slow, presumably to make savoring the experience deeper, but the waiting (for me) was excruciating.
Even the stocking-stuffers, consisting of wrapped erasers, nail-clippers or bubble gum, were opened with care. When it was Mom’s turn she always opened hers so carefully she never tore the wrapping paper. (To this day I think she saved what paper she could to reuse the following year).
I’m a lot older and a little less impatient these days. I’m still not a fan of waiting, but I have learned to enjoy the trip a little more…rather than just griping about not being at the destination.
This trip we’re on – all of us – headed for eternity, has a lot of questions and back-seat wondering to it. I try not to be impatient, but sometimes I just find myself so curious, anticipating in every nerve ending about what it will be like to see Jesus and all those loved ones who have gone before.
This is a package I want to unwrap!
In your last minute scurrying-around with Christmas celebrations and anticipation, remember to enjoy the trip.