Forced into Waiting for Christmas to Arrive.

“This waiting for Santa is getting on my nerves,” five-year-old Jessica complained last week. She is the granddaughter of Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan. Ed is excited himself because his family from Edmonton will be in Melville this Christmas, and he is impatient to see his grandchildren.

I understand folks who get impatient as sometimes waiting has me squirming. When I must wait for the right day and time, I can feel like a penny waiting for change. I believe Bob Hope captured the stress of what it means, to wait for something when he said, “I grew up with six brothers. That’s how I learned to dance – while waiting for the bathroom.” One of the difficulties of waiting is the sweating it out, marking the time, and hanging around with good behavior. We may not want to see things through to the finish. We may quit before the waiting is over.

I shared with Ed that I had to wait for Nov. 24th, this year for a small surgery. I needed a small spot of skin cancer removed from my nose. It wasn’t a problem waiting for the surgery until about two days before the date. The plastic surgeon warned me that a needle in the lower part of the nose was very painful. Boy, he was he more than right on that account. Pain is easy to handle when it is someone else getting the needle. I felt like leaving when he started to stab a needle in my nose. Waiting means we are not in control. When the doctor is operating, he is in charge, and you are feeling like the victim. When you are excited and ready for Christmas, it will not arrive until Dec. 24th Christmas Eve or Christmas Day Dec. 25th. You may be ready, but there is no hurrying Christmas along.

The first Christmas is a story of God being in control and making good on his long made promises of giving the gift of the Savior or the Messiah to the world. When God was ready, an angel appeared to the Virgin Mary, who was pledged to marry to Joseph. She was told to expect the Holy Spirit to come upon her, and that the power of the Most High would overshadow her. So the holy one to be born of her would be called the Son of God. Mary had to wait for the baby conceived in her to grow to full term. While pregnant she traveled with Joseph for a census at Bethlehem. There it was time for her baby’s birth. Mary gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed Him in a manger because there was no room at the inn. They named him Jesus as the angel told Joseph to do so, for Jesus would save his people from their sins.

Mary and Joseph waited for and welcomed the baby conceived from the Holy Spirit. They recognized the baby Jesus as God’s special gift for all. Many did not see Jesus as a gift from God that they needed to claim. That is the nature of a gift. We can ignore any gift if it seems neither wanted nor needed.

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