I am living in a season of discoveries and child-like wonder. This is an appropriate experience for the season of Advent when we hear pervasive messages of waiting with anticipation, hope, excitement, and peacefulness, knowing that we are about to receive something delightful (which, of course, was first demonstrated when the God Who Gives gave to us the thing for which we most longed: the solution to our unreconciled state).
There is something thrilling about the child-like wonder which arises when seeing something which has always been in me, around me, and with me, yet never before noticed. It feels like discovering I have been in love with something I never knew existed. It feels like finding the one last gift under the tree that was hiding behind everything else and just when you thought you had received it all, there is more. Everything is not as it should be and it never will be this side of heaven. Yet there are things which are right in front of us and we have yet to discover them. They are desperately lacking our notice and appreciation.
I want you to hear this. LOOK. Look at the beauty around you that you never noticed before. Stop and breathe and appreciate with new eyes the simple and small sorts of goodness which fill your life. There you will find the message of Advent. The little things are worth far more than we ever imagined.
LOOK. Really look.
Christmas gifts serve as important symbols of longings fulfilled, perhaps the greatest of which is knowing that the one who offered the gift cared enough to make the necessary sacrifices for you to receive it. The appropriate way to give a gift is with no strings attached, save the desire to express love, and perhaps paired with a hope to bless the other in such a way that trust would build and the relationship would be deepened. I keep happily discovering that this is the way God gives gifts to us. But sometimes we have to wait.
Sometimes when waiting on a gift, we are tempted to run and purchase it for ourselves. Why not provide the object of our desire to ourselves, if we can? Instead of waiting in the tension-filled hopeful anticipation and vulnerability of not knowing whether or not the gift will be given to us, we try to convince ourselves that we never wanted it, don’t need it, or can create it for ourselves.
I want you to hear this. WAIT. Sometimes you have to wait for a gift patiently and expectantly.
Maybe the thing which you so desire is coming to you, if only you wait resolvedly, refusing to give in to despair, believing against all hope. Perhaps something far greater than you ever imagined is on its way. Maybe the gift itself will be made all the more meaningful by the practice of waiting, hoping, and having the opportunity to receive it through another’s generous giving, rather than rushing, fearing, and securing the thing you desire through your own means. Consider the joy of receiving something in its due time. When we settle for our own created goodness towards ourselves, we both rob the intended giver of the joy of giving, as well as rob ourselves of the joy of receiving a freely given gift.
WAIT. Take a deep breathe. Relish the anticipation.
The message of Advent is that God himself has come to us, and He will come to you in your waiting. In moments where cynicism and despair replace anticipation, hope, and peace, breathe out the honest and intimate prayer: “Jesus, would you come to me?” He will. He already has. Discover the gift. It’s already been given to you.