I love the build up to Christmas. The decorations, the mince pies, the snowfall. The transformation of the city with it’s lights and markets. I love the songs and carols that come in to use at this one time of year. I love the excitement and the anticipation that you can feel building as the days count down.
I’m thoroughly prepared for the day itself to not be quite as spectacular: presents, a nice lunch, the Queen and Doctor Who on the telly, don’t quite live up to all this hype. But there is something about this season of waiting that I think is wonderful.
We await the celebration of the coming of the King.
It’s like waiting for the bride to enter at a wedding, when you don’t know whether to focus on her and the dress or him and his face as he sees her. It’s like those days when everyone is talking about the arrival of the baby and “it’s just bound to be any day now”. You get restless, anxious in a good way. You can’t sit still or stop smiling. It’s so exciting!
It’s a time for joy because you absolutely know the miracle that is coming next.
It’s got me to thinking. What was the first advent like? Not even for Mary and Joseph (who I think spent most of it on a donkey) but for God?
Can you imagine Jesus in Heaven waiting for His time to come to earth? Can you imagine the Father’s excitement that soon it was going to be done once and for all, the way would be made? Or the Holy Spirit anticipating the power He was going to reveal?
Do you reckon God got antsy? Paced a little? Do you think there were moments when He just wanted to jump up and down?
If this is my excitement, how much greater God’s must have been!
And I don’t think it was just that one time. I think that every time God knows that one of His children is going to return to Him, He gets excited in the pursuit. Scripture says there’s a party for each and every lost sheep return home, so why not the time of eager anticipation too.
It astounds me to think that God was waiting for me. Knowing full well His plan, he was excited for its fulfillment. And He still waits, and He still hopes, and He is still excited over me and over you. Incredible.
I want to dwell in this period of anticipation. To savour it. To allow the excitement to seep down into my bones so that I can carry it all year, knowing this is the longing of God’s heart too. And so that the coming of Jesus is never ordinary. That the incarnation is as wonderful and mystical as the word itself sounds.