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an advent of anticipation

just an aisle over from the turkey decorations you can find the stockings and christmas wreaths. it seems that stores continue to start the “holiday” season earlier and earlier each year. and it’s not just the stores:  last tuesday night my kids watched a christmas special on tv!  as much as i don’t like the commercialization, there is one thing i actually enjoy about the early start to the christmas season: it gives us more time to anticipate.
we don’t normally think of anticipation as a good thing, but as advent begins on sunday, i need to remind myself that anticipation is a great thing during this season. advent is a time to eagerly wait for the coming of Jesus into my heart once again. but i don’t particularly like waiting and anticipating. it doesn’t fit well with my “everything now” lifestyle.

i remember when shannon and i were engaged for 14 months, but living 6 hours apart from one another while she finished college and i worked in new jersey.  during january of that year she planned a visit to spend a few days in the great garden state during her break from school.  well, being a bachelor, the house was not automatically ready for such a visit!  i had to prepare!  i vacuumed and dusted and vacuumed and dusted again.  i put all the dishes away and scrubbed parts of my kitchen i didn’t even know existed.  on the day she was to arrive, i lit candles and spent a great deal of time in front of the mirror making sure every hair was in place.  i was waiting for my love’s arrival, with eager expectation.  i wasn’t just waiting, like in a line or in traffic.  i was waiting, making sure everything was ready, eagerly anticipating the arrival of the one i was expecting with great joy.

what about us?  do we approach christmas with the same kind of anticipation?  are we eagerly awaiting the One who is Love to come into our homes and our hearts again this year?  are we getting every part of our lives lined up so that we will be ready for Christ’s arrival?  my prayer as i navigate the aisles of holiday trinkets and the hours of commercialized programming, is that i will seize the moments of advent and use them to ready my life for the coming of Jesus.  i don’t want to just let christmas happen this year.  i want to anticipate it, with eager expectation!  joy is coming!  Love is coming!  Jesus is coming!


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