Waiting for Tomorrow with Today’s Hope

Lessons from Christmas Past ”“ The Decorations

Waiting - a Studio 1-37 original artworkAre you waiting in anticipation for Christmas to come? As a child I could hardly rest until Christmas Day arrived. The building of excitement rose to great heights as the calendar days marched closer to the 25th of December. Unlike today’s world, Christmas really did come after Thanksgiving and the distance and difference between the two holidays were distinct.

Waiting for Christmas was difficult as it was a slow process in our house, especially to an eight-year-old. Christmas wasn’t discussed until the boxes of Christmas decorations moved from their storage holdings and found their new place in mother’s sewing room. Once this happened though I knew it wouldn’t be long. I wasn’t allowed to help with the real decorating but in the bottom of one box were decorations that belonged just to me. My excitement mounted waiting for her to pull out those treasured items.

As soon as they hit the floor I would eagerly gather my stash together and run to my room to place out my own decorations. There was a miniature tree, a tiny plastic nativity complete with a silver glitter roof, and old cast off ornaments that mother no longer used. I would carefully place each item just where I wanted and would stand back full of childlike appreciation of my decorating skills. But this was just the first part of the anticipation build. The biggest tell sign that Christmas was soon to arrive was when my mother announced that we were going to get the tree.

Lessons from Christmas Past ”“ The Tree Adventure

Going to pick out the Christmas tree was a great event but also one that required a great amount of patient waiting. My mother didn’t just settle on any tree and selecting it each year was more of a lesson in longsuffering. It began at my grandparent’s farm usually the Sunday afternoon before Christmas, depending on what day the holiday came that year. The event long in waiting was full of hope and anticipation of the good things to come.

Upon arriving there was the necessary visitation and advice gathered from my grandfather on where to find the best tree. The family would then head off in the direction he recommended. In the beginning it was fun to race around looking for the tree but as you can imagine soon it was clear that this wouldn’t be a fast process. The criteria for the Christmas tree was not only long but steep with qualifications.  The tree “musts” included perfect viewing from all sides, a straight trunk that fit the stand, and fluffy full branches with no gaping holes.

The first few trees found required mother’s critical eye and we would watch in anticipation as she slowly circled the tree commenting on its attributes and faults. Needless to say after viewing about 5 trees this adventure was no longer fun. It usually ended with tired grumpy people and my father ready to cut down the next thing he saw. It would be dark by the time we headed back from the farm with the tree securely tied to my family’s car. As we neared home my excitement once again builds in thrilling anticipation of the next step. But it would quickly become dashed.

Lessons from Christmas Past ”“ The Final Wait?

Upon arriving home with the tree, like any child, I was ready to decorate it. But this was simply not the way this process occurred. My father insisted that first the tree needed re-cutting. Placing the newly cut tree in water for a minimum of 24 hours was the next step. According to my father, this allows the tree to revive itself. Perhaps this is true but I also suspect that it allows the tree seeker and cutter to also revive themselves. So another waiting period begins.

This wait morphs into another day’s lesson of agonizing patience as then the ”revived” tree finds itself cut to fit the stand without damaging the branches that made it full, fluffy, and without gaping holes. This process is often difficult for a tree grown in the wild and not shaped regularly. Once the tree finds its way into the stand, it moves to its new home in the living room. I stand by ready to decorate but it still isn’t time as another long wait time presents itself. I look on in dismay as the tangles of lights snake out of the boxes for testing and retesting praying that no wiring issues need solving this year.

Finally, the waiting period ends as my father finishes placing the lights on the tree. Now the real tree decoration begins. Christmas is only days away and gifts of brightly decorated papers and ribbons find the base of the tree. It is only in the hopes of the big day that the waiting keeps itself in check. For it is through recognizing the goodness of Christmases in the past that the hope of the tomorrow’s Christmas finds assurance.

Lessons from Christmas Past ”“ Waiting for Tomorrow

The lessons learned in waiting upon the hope of the tomorrow’s Christmas aligns to waiting upon the hope of tomorrow’s future of goodness for all Christians. It is upon the hope of a Savior born that we now hold the hope of eternity from the cross. Trusting daily in God’s faithfulness day by day makes us confident of His great promises for the tomorrows. Sometimes waiting isn’t easy and certainly not fun but it doesn’t mean that God isn’t in control. Remaining stout-hearted or strong in faith and holding courage to face adversities is the only way to battle fear, loneliness, and maintain hope for brighter days.

As we move into the third week of advent we often need reminding that Advent, summed up, is a period of waiting. This ancient period of patient waiting requires us to faithfully know that God is in control. In the waiting God offers not only help for today but through His Son He holds the hope for the future. Christmas begins with a promise for the hope of the tomorrows. It is with Christmas that we need to stand back and remember Romans 8:28. This reminds us that God indeed works good for all those who love Him and are called to His purpose. God is all the goodness in our life and He is worth waiting for!

It is said that Christmas is the promise but Easter is the proof. Find comfort during this season of waiting. Know that God will ultimately prevail as He reveals Himself in His time for this is today’s hope for tomorrow’s future.

Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14 (NASB)

Love in Christ,

E.J.

Postscript

Waiting for God is not laziness, is not going to sleep, and is not the abandonment of effort.  Waiting for God means, first, activity under command; second, readiness for any new command that may come; third, the ability to do nothing until the command is given.

Campbell Morgan

Extra Study

Psalm 31:24; 37:34, Lamentations 3:24-26, Romans 8:28, Hebrews 12:1

What are your thoughts? Join Us in Discussion

Do you find waiting difficult? Do you hold vastly onto the hope of tomorrow provided by Christ? How do you wait during Advent? How do we all wait in the season after Easter? Join us in discussion on depending on today’s hope of tomorrow’s future while waiting on God.

How God is working through your life?