That was the greeting around our house yesterday -- Merry Christmas Eve Eve. It's probably my wife's third favorite day of the year, right behind December 24 and 25. It's all about anticipation. Waiting is almost never fun, but waiting for something wonderful can be almost as satisfying as the event itself.
I rather doubt the Israelites felt that way about the coming Messiah. They envisioned an end to Roman rule in God's nation, but of course it didn't quite happen that way. The awaited a new King to rule tham, but many didn't like the One who was sent. And so He was rejected. The time of advent was much different than the years after Jesus left for heaven. Or was it? Many were still waiting and remain in a state of anticipation till this day.
Even the rest of us who accept that long-awaited Messiah have our share of anticipation as well. We await the time when He returns. And while I do look forward to that time, I've got to admit that I really, really enjoy what I have now -- even with all the hardships and heartache.
Now the waiting period has reached a boil. Packages gather around the tree. The house is cleaned (well, mostly), food is being prepared and family will soon be arriving for the day. The church is being readied for a candlelight service and the kids are rehearsing their readings. We know that the time we've been anticipating is arriving.
Tomorrow night it will be over, mostly. Wrapping paper will be throw away and leftover food will be stored or scrapped. The tingly feeling of wondering what is coming next will be gone. Yet it will be replaced by the presence of new gifts -- clothes, toys and knick-knacks for us to enjoy. We will have the memories of a wonderful weekend, and likely will share pictures or videos of the occasion. The anticipation may be gone, but the reality will be with us.
The awaiting of Messiah is over, but the reality is that God is present. The path to His Throne has been opened by Christ and we've been given the gift of the Holy Spirit -- something much too big to wrap and put under a tree. Now let us enjoy His presence and await the time when He will return.
Merry Christmas to all who stop by here. May you and your family know the true joy of the season and the blessings of His presence.