[Deanna Cook teaches at Western Christian in Regina,SK. Like many other teachers, she is probably more excited for Christmas break to begin than the students.]
My first introduction to Advent was at a sleep-over.
It was over the Christmas holidays at my best friend’s house. We were neighbours and yet spending the night at her house was so exotic! Her bedroom was down in the basement- and she had a television in her room so we could watch Good Rockin’ Tonight. She had the complete Sweet Valley High collection and Seventeen magazines. And Saturday breakfast was Fruit Loops. Another alluring event was the Advent Calendar- every day leading up to Christmas you opened a door and snag a piece of chocolate!
The Advent Calendar was uncharted for me- I couldn’t fathom that you would have to wait for each new day to open the next box in the calendar. I thought it would be great if you could just open each and every box right then- discover all the surprises at once. Being patient was key to the allure of this calendar but a quality I struggle to possess. It was like waiting for Christmas Day to open presents. The beautifully decorated boxes under the tree were enticing. What harm was there to softly shake the boxes and try to guess the content? Or stealthily pick at the corners to guess the contents hidden within? But the glamour was quickly lost if your covert operations did unearth the identity within the wrapping papers. You now knew the secret and the appeal of opening gifts Christmas morning was lost with this discovery. Lessons were learned that having patience was more fulfilling than covert operations.
Alexandre Dumas Pere, a French writer, said, “All human wisdom is summed up in two words- wait and hope”. It comes back to waiting and anticipating. In Psalms 37:7, we are cautioned to “be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret”. God is an advent calendar; within each compartment of life, He has planned something great for us. And I have to remember to have patience as He discloses His plans for me. Fretting will not bring about His plans any quicker. All fretting or vexing does is distract me; it causes me to become anxious and worried. It causes me to lose my trust in God. But in 1 Corinthians 2:9, we are reminded that “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him”. As God unveils each new possibility, it is His gift to us. And this gift is so much greater than the Cabbage Patch Doll (or this year’s top holiday gift for kids). In 2 Corinthians 9:15, Paul describes this gift as “indescribable”. We could guess about its contents- shaking it or tearing at the bows and wrapping paper- but it would remain an amazing bestowal for us. And it will be with anticipation, that I will unwrap this gift from my Father- a gift He has planned and created just for me. I can’t wait!