Contributed by Alex Kindred, First Christian
I’ve never been a particularly patient person. I shop for groceries late in the evening to avoid lines. I’m willing to drive out of the way if there is less traffic in a given direction. If my internet is slower than it normally is, I scowl at my computer and drum my fingers. I’ve always been that way. Do you remember that ridiculous noise of dial-up internet, with its chugs, beeps, and static? The very thought of that ruckus makes me impatient.
It’s no small wonder, then, that I was always impatient for Christmas to arrive when I was a kid. With all the decorations going up, with the barrage of Christmas commercials on television, with visions of all the possible presents waiting for me, I had a hard time waiting when I was younger. I had a large stocking; in the pictures, it looks bigger than I was as a boy. And I’ll never forget the feeling of snaking my arm down it to get that first present out on Christmas morning.
As I’ve gotten older, I don’t expect Christmas with the same kind of anticipation. But I’m still learning to be patient. As a Christian, I believe that the reason that we celebrate the holidays is that Jesus our God came to be with us in the midst of our mundane, normal human existence. As a Christian, I believe that this Story has the power to turn our lives upside-down and restore us to a better way of life. I also believe that growth in the Gospel is about patience, about waiting with expectation and hope for God to complete the healing of our world.
Maybe you are impatient this time of year as Christmas approaches. Maybe you are impatient this time of year as the news reminds us of how broken our world is. Maybe you are impatient in your family as you hope for healing, restored relationship, or just a sign that there’s more to our lives than meets the eye.
The greatest gift of Christmas has always been that God has given us a new hope and a new way. So, if you’re not patient – as I’m not – I hope that you’ll take a deep breath with me and remember that we do not have to be the authors of our own fates. The gift that God gives will come when the timing is right. And, better than anything that has ever been in our stockings on Christmas morning, it will be worth the wait.