Patience is something completely lacking from my being when I was a child. I had none. Zip. Nada. I loathed waiting. Waiting for Christmas was akin to torture to my young self, but there was something magical about that particular type of anticipation which I carry with me today.
While my ability to practice patience continues to be a work in progress, I am in love with the waiting that is Advent. It's just the beginning of Advent and I'm bursting with anticipation. Our Advent Spiral is set up, our Christmas tree created from lots of lights and things found around the house, Christmas books are wrapped to open and read together each morning and our Advent calendar (online this year!) is awaiting our nightly visits during our FAITH5 family devotions time.
It's all so very exciting. We need to hurry up and wait!
It only seems fitting that on our first Advent night we read a book about Jesus as a boy, about Mary telling Him the stories of Love surrounding His birth. About her excitement following an angelic visit, Joseph's immediate reaction upon hearing that his betrothed was pregnant, about shepherds and angels and magi ... and elephunks that looked more like camels. The waiting Mary had to do: waiting for Elizabeth to give birth; waiting for Joseph to come to terms with God's plan or divorce her; waiting to give birth to Jesus; waiting through her fears for His adult life as He grew from baby to child to adult.
Thankfully, my family didn't have too much time to wait from the first Sunday in Advent until we celebrated St. Nicholas Day at Tuesday Night Sunday School. December 6th will swiftly arrive, bringing with it a visit from St. Nicholas and the first of three gifts for our children this season. St. Nicholas usually gives an experience - tickets to a performance, museum, science center, movie, or other exciting adventure - instead of a thing. And then the waiting to go to that place or have that experience begins!
Each morning we open and read together a Christ-centered book in anticipation of His arrival. Every Advent night we open another "door" on our Advent calendar, this year online with alternating devotions and fun. Each day we add a stone to our Advent spiral path, moving closer to the Birth, and adding a word, idea, or concept to concentrate on as we move through our day: Love, Family, Holy, Whimsy, Compassion, Giving, Fun, and Spiritual Gifts among them. And we read the Sacred Story of Jesus' birth one tiny book at a time.
As we wait, our hearts open to Love come down and Grace gifted. From Mary's first angelic visit to the visit from the Magi, we wait and celebrate. Hurry the Lord is Near!