Christmas is my favorite time of year. I know it sounds cliché, but some of my favorite memories come from Christmas time. Everything from watching It’s a Wonderful Life, going to Hershey Park when it is lit up with lights, and spending time with friends and family. I find it to be the most rewarding and peaceful time of the year.
As a child I would eagerly anticipate Christmas morning. Back then it was more because I knew I was getting new toys that day, but the anticipation was all the same. What would I get? Would I get what I want? Everyday that it was closer to Christmas, the harder it was to wait.
Not everyone would agree, but I think Christmas is worth the wait every year. In Williamsburg, VA there is a Yankee Candle Factory that has an entire section dedicated to Christmas. Besides the nicety of getting to smell all those Christmas Candles, I mainly like to visit so I can get a preview of Christmas.
Though, it occurred to me on my last visit that it must stink to work there. It would be Christmas everyday and then you would never look forward to when it was actually Christmas. You would be used to it and Christmas would lose it’s meaning. Then I realized how important waiting is to our Christian growth.
THE GOOD MOVIE TRAILER
I go to a lot of movies and end up seeing a lot of trailers. Sometimes a trailer gets me so excited for a movie that I’m counting down the days until it is released. I read up on it everyday and watch the trailer over again on the internet. Then I’d buy a midnight show ticket on opening day so I am the first to see it.
And sometimes that movie I was so excited to see ends up being terrible. What a waste of time and effort. The disappointment is hard to handle, even though it was only a movie. Afterwards, I end up ranting to my friends about why not to see it, but the lesson is not learned and I end up doing it again two months down the road.
Why do I do it? Because I love the anticipation of it being a great movie. The thought of it turning out bad doesn’t even cross my mind, but I enjoy anticipating a great movie’s release.
GOLDEN AGE THINKING
Speaking of movies, I recently watched Midnight in Paris. If you haven’t seen it I won’t spoil it for you, but I will mention it’s theme. In the movie the main character is always saying how things were better before, when Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso walked the streets. So, he is always waiting for things to go back to being that good.
I think sometimes we do this in our personal lives. We look back at the goods times and always wonder why they ended. It could have been your college years, a temporary job, place you used to live, or maybe someone you used to date. Either way, we always look back wearing rose colored glasses and wish things were more like they were then.
If life is hard now, don’t look back for the answers. You’ll get stuck waiting for the past and it’ll never show up.That movie has ended and new ones are about to come out. You just have to keep a look out for those new trailers.
WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR?
So, I have written all of this and haven’t tied it to our relationships with God. What does all of this waiting around have to do with our walks with Christ?
Well, it comes down to the fact that we all want something. Most of us want many different things and sometimes we have no control over when we can have what we want. Many times, we don’t get what we want at all. Maybe what we wanted is not good for us, so Christ protects us from it.
So, we become impatient and that leads us to become angry or frustrated with God. We look up at God and say, “Lord, I saw a great trailer, but this movie sucks.” Believe it or not, I think that this reaction is O.K. Do you think Job wasn’t angry with God? Didn’t Abraham become impatient when waiting for his son to be born?
Sometimes we wait and we are let down, but maybe that is because we want the wrong things sometimes. It reminds me of a quote by C.S. Lewis that says, “If God had granted all the silly prayers I’ve made in my life, where should I be now?”. Similarly, I’ll say what if God gave you everything you wanted, what kind of a mess would your life be in?
So, we must want what is best for us and since we can’t figure out what that is we must wait for God to show us. Isaiah 40:31 says, “But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” In other words, wait for God and not just the things we want.
PREPARING FOR A TRAFFIC JAM
If you’re anything like me I am sure you become impatient. We get tired of waiting around so we go to God and say, “Please help me be patient?” and God will answer that prayer by sticking you in the middle of a traffic jam when you are already late for work.
We won’t wake up one morning and be able to blissfully wait forever. Even the most patient of people have breaking points. The ability to wait needs to be cultivated like any muscle in the body.
For example, if a skinny guy walks into a gym and says “I want to be strong” he’s going to have to start lifting weights. He’ll have to break down his muscles so they’ll grow back stronger. It is a long process and won’t happen overnight. It may take him years of regular training to build the strength he wants.
The same goes for our patience with God, so prepare for a few traffic jams in your life. It is the only way we’ll get better at it.
I consider art to be a very broad term, but I believe the art of waiting is not knowing if we’ll receive what we are waiting for. It is in Romans 8:25 where it says, “But if we hope for what we don’t see, we wait for it with patience.” Try waiting without knowing what you are waiting for and simply believe it is going to be good because Christ is good. It’ll help free your mind from the anxiety and apprehension of not knowing.
Christmas and movies are easy to wait for because we know they are coming. Every year Christmas will come and I’ll be waiting for it, but then it is over and I just end up waiting for next Christmas again. I’ve learned from that, too.
Enjoy today, because tomorrow you may get what you have been waiting for and it’ll be great. You’ll praise God and celebrate, but then you’ll just want something else and wait all over again. It’ll be a lifetime spent waiting.
So, enjoy the moment. Celebrate today and trust God has good things in store for those that are being patience. In order to enjoy the sunshine we wait for the rain to stop, but it can’t rain all of the time.