Advent Day 18: Joy and Anticipation
Today's Reading: Luke 1:39-45
I have a vivid memory as a little girl of going to my neighbor’s house to play during Christmas break. He told me that one of his favorite things to do at Christmas was to lay under the tree and look up at the lights. So we got down on the floor (which was much easier to do back then by the way) and we gazed up through the branches of his Christmas tree in awe of the sparkling lights. I remember getting this feeling of joy and excitement in my belly as we both laughed and talked about what we were going to ask Santa to bring us that year. I hold that memory dear because it encompasses the best part of the holiday season as a child - that joy and anticipation of Christmas.
Now that I am older, it is harder to find that place of pure joy during the season. I mean, I have things to do now! I work for the church and there is a lot of “stuff” going on during this season. Then I have all the long traditional lists of things that I want to do with my family, which now includes five grandkids. There are trees to decorate, cookies to bake, halls to deck, gifts to wrap, Christmas movies to watch, and parades with fake snow at Disneyland. Thanks to the magic of Amazon Prime, I don’t even have to stop doing ANY of those things to get my shopping done. I can simultaneously Christmas shop for the family while baking cookies and throwing ornaments on the tree. It won’t be joyful, but I will get the job done. As I read this passage, I realize that although I am great at multi-tasking there is something definitely missing in my Christmas season. In this season am I really recognizing what is happening around me and WHO is present?
Elizabeth lost all hope of having a child, but now finds herself six months pregnant with a husband who can no longer speak due to his disbelief. She probably had a few things on her mind the day that Mary showed up at her home. Yet, Elizabeth at the sound of Mary’s voice proclaims, “As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy!” Amidst all of the things that were going on in her life, Elizabeth was immediately able to recognize the presence of the coming Savior.
We are given the gift of Christmas, not to overwhelm ourselves with busyness, but to remember that God fulfilled His promise of a Savior. The child leaped for JOY! The presence of Jesus should do the same for us. His presence can be found all around us during this season. It can be found in the giving of gifts, in the laughter of a grandchild, in the embrace of a friend. Are we looking for it with great anticipation? If not, then I encourage you to lay under a Christmas tree and gaze up through the branches at the sparkling lights until you feel the joy and anticipation of Christmas “leap” in your belly and remember that the Lord fulfilled his promise to you!
- Get all the daily Advent readings.
- Subscribe to eNews to receive via email.
- Get the Christmas Season schedule.