Christmas time is here! Tis the season of ugly sweaters, last-minute shopping, and overpriced seasonal drinks at coffee shops. It’s also the season of cheesy Christmas movies and tv specials. One recent entry to the latter is a Disney+ show called “The Santa Clauses.” This mini-series follows Scott Calvin and his retirement from being Santa Claus. His successor, Simon Chokshi, is a product developer extraordinaire who seeks to make every day Christmas by delivering what people want in the blink of an eye through a combination of magic and tech. This move to deliver “everything now” almost destroys Christmas because it removes the anticipation of the holiday and the magic that it brings.
Despite what critics or viewers might think of this series, the themes of “waiting” and “anticipation” sprinkled throughout each episode are welcomed reminders in our age of instant gratification. This growing obsession with wanting something and wanting it now is why Cyber Monday seems to generate more excitement than Christmas itself. Don’t get me wrong, buying a gift at a discounted price from the comfort of your own home has its perks, but the elevation of these perks can lead us to diminish a gift that this season was designed to bring… the gift of waiting.
The Goodness of Waiting
While driving home one day, my oldest daughter asked me how many sleeps it was until Christmas. When I told her it was several days away, she asked with exasperation, “Why do we have to wait for Christmas? Why can’t it be now?” Her question led to a conversation that probably meant more to me than it did to her. We discussed the goodness of waiting. How waiting for Christmas not only reflects the anticipation God’s people had in the past for Christ’s first coming, but it also reflects the longing we currently experience for His second coming. My daughter seemed satisfied to stop there and began asking random questions (as five year olds do) about what Jesus looked like and why phones didn’t exist when he was on earth. She may have been content to drop the conversation, but I wasn’t. For the rest of the day, I kept reflecting on the phrase “the goodness of waiting.” I believe this to be true, but why is it so? Why is waiting good for us? This question could be answered in a number of ways, but I think the goodness of waiting isn’t only seen in what we receive at the end of our waiting but in what it reveals about us in the midst of it.
The Power of Waiting
In our waiting, we’re given time and space to see who we truly are. Waiting can reveal our longings, whether they be good, weak, or misplaced. Waiting has a way of shaping our dreams and showing us what we’re trusting in for peace and who we’re looking to for hope. Our anticipations often say more about us than our actions, and long periods of waiting give us the margin we need to assess our longings and realign them. The advent season is more than a recognition of Christ’s birth. It’s a season of waiting that reminds us that this world isn’t our home and that we’re eagerly longing for the return of our glorious King. Each Christmas is a gift of waiting that shapes our hearts and reorients our gaze to the Prince of Peace who will one day make all things new. This is a hope worth waiting for and a longing that is to shape all other longings.
As you wait for Christmas, use the waiting to evaluate your heart. What are you truly longing for? What do you love and how is that shaping your anticipation? Where are you looking to for hope, and what are you trusting in to give you peace? The busyness of our lives usually deprives us of the time needed to ponder these questions, so let advent do its intended work. Let it reveal your longings and upend your expectations. May this season show you that waiting is a gift. It’s a gift that prepares us to receive, savor, and share the ultimate Gift on the other side of the waiting.
Merry Christmas and Happy Waiting!