Anyone who knows me well knows that I'm not always a very patient person. I have a lot of patience with people, but that's not the kind of patience I'm talking about. I'm talking about not being able to wait for good things. At 27, I still count down the days until my birthday. I still get up in the middle of the night Christmas Eve to go look at my presents and open my stocking. Anticipation kills me. If I know something exciting is coming up, I'm miserable waiting for it to happen. Christmas is the worst. As soon as December hits, I start snooping around looking for my Christmas presents. The kicker is I hate knowing what all my gifts are on Christmas morning, but I still can't stop myself from snooping! Luckily, my husband knows this about me and he doesn't keep unwrapped presents in the house anymore.
This Christmas was especially exciting because it was Micah's first. Not only was I eager to see what wonderful gifts my husband had picked out for me, but I couldn't wait to see what he had picked out for Micah. See, I'm also a gift person. I love opening gifts and being surprised by things. I think my eagerness was contagious this year because I somehow convinced Brad that we should open our gifts before we went to bed Christmas Eve night. Typically we open one gift from each other before going to bed. Then, I wake up at about 6 in the morning and anxiously wait for 7 when I can finally wake Brad up to go downstairs and start opening our presents. This year, after opening our one gift, I said we should open all our gifts right now, not expecting Brad to agree. But after thinking about it for a minute, he did agree, saying it might make the morning not so rushed since we didn't know what time Micah would be up and it now takes us a lot longer to get ready and out of the house in the morning. However, he put the stipulation that we would save one present for the morning as well as our stockings. Fine by me. Of course, after opening our gifts neither one of us could wait for that last gift so we opened them all (but saved the stockings for morning).
But this isn't really a post about what wonderful presents I got. Or how I have the patience of a 6-year-old. As I was thinking about how much I was anticipating Christmas, I started thinking about what was I really anticipating? Was it the presents? Partly, but more than that, it was the whole day. I was looking forward to see how well my husband knows me: did he pick out gifts that showed he really listens to me and thought about me? I was looking forward to watching Micah interact with his family and how well he would do with all of the excitement. I was looking forward to just relaxing with our families, talking to each other. I was looking forward to sitting on the couch and watching a movie with my husband. I was looking forward to singing Christmas carols and looking at all of the pretty lights. But was I really anticipating what Christmas is all about?
It's so easy to lose the true meaning of Christmas in all of the bustle. With family pictures and meeting Santa and baking cookies and wrapping presents, who has time for Jesus? So often the first thing that gets left out is going to church. It's just not at a convenient time. Or I have to get these cookies baked for the party. Or the baby is sleeping and I don't want to wake him. It's not that I think you have to go to church in order to properly celebrate Christmas, but for me it really helps keep me focused. So, that got me thinking, what did I do this year in anticipation for celebrating Christmas the right way? I didn't really do anything to make Christmas more Christ-focused. The whole year. I believe that as Christians, we have to anticipate Christmas all year long. I started off the year right, but somewhere along the way, I just lost it. I lost that excitement, the anticipation of that special day. I just wasn't excited. And as I was opening my presents in the early hours of Christmas I thought, what if I approached my relationship with God in the same way that I approach this day? What if I was excited to get up in the morning and couldn't wait to find out what God had to say to me this day? What if I jumped out of bed every morning because I just couldn't lay around anymore, I had to see what lay ahead for me? What if I anticipated that God was going to do something wonderful in my life every day? How different would my life be? How different would my family be?
I think that's what I'm going to do in 2011: anticipate God's faithfulness every day and eagerly anticipate all of the wonderful, exciting things that he has in store for me. I wonder how that will change my life?