One of my favorite childhood poems was “Jest ‘Fore Christmas” by Eugene Fields. This was one little boy who had his year planned out! “Most all the time the whole year round/There ain’t no flies on me/But jest ‘fore Christmas, I’m as good as I kin be!" Throughout the year, this little guy acted like any normal ornery boy. But, in anticipation of Christmas, he put on his best behavior because he knew what was coming.
Do you remember how, as a child, you waited for Christmas? Did it seem like Christmas would never come? Are the students in your class or in your home getting antsy and hyper with anticipation? As adults, we’re waiting too. Most of us are waiting for Christmas to be over!
There are two adults in the Bible who waited for Christmas. They waited longer than any child of today has waited. They probably waited with more anticipation yet more patience. Not wanting to miss a moment of the coming event, Simeon and Anna frequented the Temple. When the moment finally arrived, the moment Jesus’ parents brought him into the Temple, there was no big let down, only great joy and peace. Simeon took the baby in his arms and proclaimed, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised/you now dismiss your servant in peace/for my eyes have seen your salvation/which you have prepared in the sight of all people/ a light for revelation to the Gentiles/and for glory to your people Israel (Luke 2:29-32).” Anna met the event with praise to God and told everyone she met that the Event had happened.
When Christmas Day comes, will your children feel let down that it’s over? Will you praise God by saying, “Thank God that’s over. Now we can get back to normal life!”? If our eyes are focused on God’s gift that He has already given instead of what we might get, like Eugene Field’s ornery boy of his poem, or on what we have to give others out of obligation, if we wait in anticipation of the celebration of God’s greatest gift, then we also will celebrate on that Day with joy and peace.
Instead of trying to tamp down your children’s hyperactive anticipation of Christmas, this year, channel their enthusiasm toward the celebration of God’s gift to us, His promised Son, Jesus, the Savior of the world.