This time of year brings to mind memories of waiting for family coming to visit. I remember not only having to wait for Christmas to open presents, but also the anticipation of knowing that my grandparents were coming and having time slow down as their arrival approached. They lived eight hours away when I was in elementary school, and the day that they made that drive was always one of the slowest of the year.
Of course, I also have other memories of anticipation and learning to deal with waiting and disappointment even. Trying to go to sleep the night before going to an amusement park was nearly impossible the first time I tried it. There was even a day we were driving to some event like an air show, and the traffic ended up being so bad we had to turn around and go home instead.
These days we don’t teach children to deal with anticipation. We avoid it. There is a valid reason for surprising our loved ones. It is fun to see a child surprised by joy. But we shouldn’t do it all the time. And we do it, not just for the fun of giving our children surprise, but because we can’t deal with them learning to deal with waiting.
Perhaps our generation hasn’t experienced anticipation enough ourselves. We don’t see it as a natural part of life. We think it is bad. It isn’t. God put humanity through centuries of anticipation. That is part of what Advent is all about.
Make your kids count down the days, people.