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December 5, 2005

Waiting in Joyful Hope

Advent is a time of solemn waiting. And yet solemnity and joy are not mutually contradictory. It sounds as though they are, but only if we are under the misconception that joy equals happiness.

We wait during the first half of advent for Christ the King who is to come--we know He will return in His time and then the world will be transformed. But during the second half of advent, we "wait" in eternity, our waiting already fulfilled, but reinforced by the waiting and the preparation we make for Christmas.

What a shame, then, so many very good Christians stress themselves out over the Christmas season. It is hard not to be stressed if you're amidst ten-thousand other people seeking the perfect gift for everyone on their list, if you're busy preparing the menu and the guest list for your Christmas parties and Christmas dinner, if you're caught in the midst of the secular seasonal preparations. None of these are bad things, but they divert the focus from the one thing necessary.

So what is the remedy for Christmas preparation stress? Do what you do for love of Christ and do it with great joy that we have this season to celebrate. Perform a short mental exercise. Put yourself in the time before Christ came, in the Babylonian captivity. Now, translate that same state to today. Suddenly even Christmas shopping stress has become an insignificant trifle.

What else can we do? If you're baking Christmas cookies--bake them with Jesus in mind, remembering each moment what we are celebrating. If you're wrapping Christmas presents, thank God that you have presents to wrap and rejoice in wrapping them for His son. If you're making up menus, remember to invite Jesus to that party in some substantial way.

We are waiting, but what we are waiting for has already arrived (in part). As we wait, we rejoice that God's will has been done and is being done now and every day. Each ornament we hang on the tree, we do for Jesus. Each song that's played, each treat prepared, even cleaning our house, we do in preparation for a Baby who has arrived, is arriving, and will arrive on Christmas Day.

As we journey through each day, let us unite our own antipation with that of the Blessed Mother who, day by day, became more aware that the time was upon her. For those of us who are parents, let us recall the joy, fear, and hope that preceded the arrival of our own children. And this was a most special, most unexpected child. Let us rejoice with her that the time has come and salvation is brought forth in all of His glory.

Posted by Steven Riddle at December 5, 2005 12:51 PM

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Waiting in Joyful Hope You know, Steven told me that he wishes that he could write the way I do. Well, I wish that I could write about some of this as well as he does. Isn't it wonderful... [Read More]

Tracked on December 9, 2005 7:42 PM


Since you so enthusiastically recommended Helena and in the spirit of Advent, I wanted to link to this: http://roamingroman.blogspot.com/2005/12/way-of-cross.html

Just in case you missed reading it.

Posted by: psalm 41 at December 5, 2005 5:05 PM

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