top of page

Even better than our anticipation

It happened in my sixth year and Eddie’s eleventh, the covert op under cover of darkness. We went carefully and oh so silently into the room lit only by stray moonbeams. We trod stealthily like two ninjas, our breaths shallow and quick. Our mingled fear and excitement climbed with every step. Mission? Seek those stockings stuffed with gifts, the unwrapped kind, and put our crazy anticipating anxiety to rest until Christmas morn.

We had reconned the mission and knew the exact positioning of the stockings. Eddie, second to oldest, counted two from the left. I rushed to the end of the line. We lifted the stockings in unison releasing their loops from the nails. The hard part was behind us.

First, I felt the sharp edges and round bulges in my red felt stocking decorated with a hand-painted Christmas elf. My eyes opened wide. My focus was on the uppermost treasures—the large hard globes at the toe had to be the fruit I knew to expect, and the smaller shapes would be the nuts (I would save these for later). I unloaded small boxes that seemed to overflow from the top—and then I went in.

Maybe some of the readers do not know about Matchbox cars, but they were what I hoped for this particular holiday. The small replicas of the best vehicles imaginable came in boxes about the size of matchboxes, hence the name (Google it—it’s worth a look). My eager child’s hands opened each box, removed the car, and

felt the details as best I could. On the silent carpeted floor, I took them all for a first spin, marveling at the smooth ride. I opened every box, explored all of the stash, and my nervous anticipation slowed to unbelievable happiness. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined” (Isa. 9:2 NRSV).

Waiting is hard. Waiting with anticipation is less hard, but the excitement and longing sometimes reach fever pitch. It was so for

the faithful who lived with that anticipation of the coming of Messiah—the Deliverer. The prophets’ words kindled their desire for that promise. Would it be this year? This generation? They eagerly watched for the signs, combing the messages in the Pentateuch, reading the passages, seeking to be vigilant, knowing

that the fulfillment would be beyond their wildest imagination. Isaiah proclaims, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, or the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this” (9:6-7). How can this kind of anticipation be waited for by mere men?

For me, the Christmas season has always been about anticipation. Advent comes alive with powerful scripture lessons, melodious hymns, lighted candles, chrismons among greenery. Entering into

the sanctuary each Sunday, my anticipation grows and I wonder how the church can sustain all of this wonder and joy until the great day of celebration. As December days meld together in

my mind, I cast thoughts back and recall all my days of anticipation. Now some have said that the anticipation is the biggest part, that all of the built up expectations and longings will never be topped by the reality when it comes. There will be, they say, a let down at the end. The testimonies of Simeon and Anna tell a different story. The reality, the sight of Immanuel, far exceeded any of their glorious anticipation of Messiah. The rejoicing, according to the gospel message, was spectacular the day of His birth, complete with angels’ chorus and shepherds’ adoration, and the journey of kings from afar. The reality, the fulfillment, outshone

all of the lead-up.

You and I live with a different anticipation. We have read the rest of the story. We know that Messiah has come, salvation is ours through His death and resurrection. And we know that He has promised to come again. We live in days of anticipation, days waiting our King’s return. We anticipate the eternal reality of standing and praising in our Messiah’s midst forever. I know when that reality comes, it will be even better than our anticipation. I

have turned to the last page. I know the conclusion. And it is beyond good: “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am

coming quickly.’ Amen, Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev 22:20). May we be ready to rejoice in that day and may His peace be with us all as we anticipate. Glory be to our God!

Written by Jim Edminson, Editor of Charity & Children

14 views0 comments


bottom of page