In some strange way, I always have enjoyed the hustle-bustle of Christmas anticipation. Not the desperate “must find something!” gift search, but our last-minute preparations:

  • Wrapping the last gifts
  • Cleaning the house and putting up the final Christmas decorations
  • Queueing up our favorite Christmas music
  • Planning the holiday meals and purchasing the food and the wine

I find comfort in these rituals. This is what I do. This is how I prepare. I anticipate Christmas by getting things done. I am proactive.

AdventwreathBut sometimes I’m afraid that I miss out on some golden moments by working too hard; planning too much; preparing for something that won’t meet my expectations. When our children were young they would ask me what I wanted for Christmas. My answer was always the same, “A clean house and good kids.” This was most often greeted with rolled eyes and a groan. Of course I was mostly joking but still there was some truth in my wish.

And yet when I look back on my fondest Christmas memories it has nothing to do with a perfect house or well-behaved children. It has always been those things that I didn’t anticipate that brought me the greatest joy. And this year is no exception:

  • Receiving a kiss on my cheek from my sweet Noah Boy while attending the ‘Novena’ at our local convent this week without prompting.
  • Our grown son Blake unexpectedly being able to secure time off from work and be with us with for Christmas.
  • An impromptu evening with my brother and sister-in-law; sharing laughs and good memories.

Of course there are other unexpected things this year:

  • My friend and spiritual director who is dealing with horrific pain while awaiting back surgery; which will hopefully “fix her” again.
  • A beloved cousin battling cancer and kidney failure.
  • Our dear friends’ Dad who will be receiving hospice care beginning tomorrow.

I cannot think of three people more deserving of a peaceful and pain-free Christmas. It is heart-breaking to think that these three should suffer when we are preparing for the ultimate joy in the birth of Our Savior.

The virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel. Isaiah 7:14

And yet I find comfort in these unexpected ‘gifts’ this year; good and bad. I know that it is our faith in God in which we find our peace; our joy.

Today as we light the fourth candle on our Advent wreath my prayer will simply be, “Come Lord Jesus!”



One thought on “Anticipation

  1. When we say Come Lord Jesus – I think some of us think “well not yet” there are a few things I need to finish or accomplish but Denis with the house clean, decorations up and the family gathering I think you truly understand and mean Come Lord Jesus (Today would be fine!)

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