I am happy to share that on our Christmas Advent journey we have a couple other voices you will hear from. Our first guest voice is from Taryn Flake. She has a couple more devotionals you will hear this December.
Scripture: Isaiah 9:6-7 and 11:1-5
December 3rd: Anticipation
What sort of memories of Christmas do you have as a child? Did you grow up with an Advent calendar? My favorite calendar was a store-bought cardboard one that contained a chocolate underneath for each day that you punched out. My sister and I had to trade days back and forth. 25 days until Christmas seemed to drag on FOREVER. And forget sleeping on Christmas Eve! I always tried to listen for the slightest sound of Santa’s sleigh, reindeer hooves, or bells that jingled. Therefore, sleep often eluded me most eves of Christmas. And Christmas morning was absolute torture! We could only open our stockings once everyone was awake. (I once pinched my sister awake and made her cry because I wanted to go downstairs to open presents so badly.) And then we had to wait for the “real presents” until my grandparents arrived. And they were always super late, you know, like 9:00 AM. But it felt like an eternity to an 8-year-old!
I can remember back to my childhood and see the anticipation that accompanied the season of Christmas. The anticipation was for chocolates and presents, however, not for the birth of Jesus. I wonder how many of us have even close to that childlike anticipation for Christmas as adults. Do you dread dragging out the Christmas decorations for yet another year? Do you dread shopping for loved ones, wondering if there is anything that they could possibly need this year? Do you dread going to yet another Christmas party, to which of course you have to bring another white elephant gift? Does the Christmas season seem to fly by before you have time to wrap another present, bake another batch of cookies, or hang up another strand of lights?
I wonder what we can do this season to make it as special as when we were children, or as anticipatory as the Israelites were for the coming Messiah. Imagine waiting hundreds or thousands of years for Scripture to be foretold! Even as an adult, I have trouble waiting 5 minutes, let alone 500 years! I invite you to find a way this season to anticipate. Maybe it is having the Advent calendar and meditating for 1 minute each morning on the gift of Jesus Christ as you enjoy your piece of chocolate that accompanies the opening of another window. Maybe it is reflecting on the person to whom you are giving your gift and imagining their face as you wrap their present. Maybe it is paying attention to the words of the Christmas hymns instead of singing them from memory. However you choose to anticipate Christ’s birth, we will all awaken joyfully on Christmas morning and remember that He is born!
Embrace the longing, the anticipation, and the waiting for the Messiah’s birth on these remaining days of the Advent season. Take one minute out of your day to reflect on the goodness of the season and to stay present in the anticipation of Christmas morning for the birth of the Messiah.
Dear Lord, allow us to embrace the anticipation of this season of Advent. Keep us present in the celebration of the holiday, not just going through the motions on autopilot or with a sense of dread. Please be with our hearts and minds this day and every day. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
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