At 6:15 AM, Josh came into our room. He was ready to go downstairs. He was not interested in reading the newspaper or letting the dog out. Nope, today is Christmas, and Josh was ready to see what presents downstairs might be for him.
Staying at Kimberly’s folks’ house, we had a prearranged agreement with Kimberly’s sister. All 4 kids would not go downstairs until all 4 kids were up . . . and no one would go downstairs before 7:30. Josh was up first, which meant that we were in for the longest 75 minutes in the history of childhood. How bad was it? Josh was so restless, he actually asked for hand sanitizer at one point to “go wash his hands.” I have known this boy for nearly 7 years . . . never once has he ever even THOUGHT about washing his hands without being told. I think he was hallucinating.
Finally, about 7:20, the other three children got up and began circling around the upstairs landing like eagles ready to swoop in on their prey. “Who is the big package for?” “I hope I get Legos!” “Is it time yet?”
Finally, all parents were up and positioned, cameras in hand, and ready to unleash the great present run of 2013. Right before we turned them loose, my brother in law asked the question, “Do you know where you need to go first when you get downstairs?” (He meant, over near the chimney where the stockings and a few toys were laid out). My nephew drooped his head and murmured, “breakfast 🙁 .” He was delighted when we told him the wait was over. He did not have to wait for breakfast, and he and his cousins could go see the bounty that awaited them.
When the four kids hit the living room, a party broke out. A police station for one, Legos for another, princess dress up for the girl, and a castle for the J man. It was worth the wait.
As the events of this morning unfolded, I had this great sense of appreciation for the waiting that the people of God had to do before the arrival of the Messiah. For thousands of years, God’s people had waited for the Christ to come to the earth. Generations struggled through the longest “75 minutes” of history from the Garden of Eden to Bethlehem. Great prophets of the past circled above the incarnation straining their eyes to see Emmanuel.
Finally, after all those years . . . after all that history, it was time. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, a new era had dawned. You and I don’t even have to stop to have breakfast . . . we get to celebrate the reality that Jesus is born.
Over the past week, I have seen how Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, Anna, and Simeon were all longing to see the Son rise. This Christmas morning, I am amazed that we have been born in an era where we have to wait no longer. We can embrace Christ by faith today. What are you waiting for? Run downstairs in faith. Open the present of salvation. And join the party. Forgiveness, love, purpose, and hope await in relationship with Him.