By: Megan Wilcox
The charge came from Mom, “It’s time to go wake up Sarai.”
That’s all it took to send Micah, Seth, and I running to little three year-old Sarai’s bedroom where she lay, the last one still slumbering away. One of us gently shook her while another bent down and whispered in her ear, “Wake up, Sarai. Santa came last night.”
Her little eyes opened right up, still a little bleary yet quickly lighting with anticipation. As it happens, even at three she already had a keen sense of what those words meant. Santa had come last night. There were good things in store—wonder, fun, gifts. She wasted no time in scrambling out of bed, ready to go. But true to Wilcox family tradition, thanks to Dad, who liked to torture us in his own special ways, we had to walk her through our normal Christmas morning rituals before we were allowed to descend downstairs.
“Do you have your bathrobe on?” This was mostly during our short-lived, let’s pretend we live in the 50’s, bathrobe season of life.
“Do you have your socks on?” Socks were an absolute MUST. You just couldn’t celebrate the birth of Jesus without warm feet.
“Is your hair in order?” This was no small task in a family of children with thick, unruly hair, but luckily, patting down the worst of the cowlicks and snarls usually sufficed.
By the time we had walked her through these steps, the whole time urging her to hurry so we could go see what Santa had left, she was worked right up into a bundle of puppy-like energy, and the anticipation between all of us was palpable.
Down the stairs we went, rushing right into the middle of the living room where Mom was revving up her trusty vacuum. Sarai came to a quick halt, a look of confusion slowly sliding across her little innocent face. In a soft, beseeching voice, she looked at Mom and asked, “Where are all the presents?” At which point, Micah, Seth, and I burst out laughing.
It was the middle of July, and torturing our sweet, innocent, little sister by convincing her Santa had come was our mid-summer choice of amusement.
I know, I know. This is just wrong on so many levels, and I will understand if you don’t want to make eye contact with me for awhile. Even though I was only seven at the time, I feel very bad about it to this day, and what magnifies the guilt is that we did this to her more than once. That Sarai is now a normal functioning adult is truly a miracle, and I ask that the next time you see her you give her an extra big hug, and tell her you’re sorry she has such rotten, soulless siblings.
Had we awoken Sarai in this way on December 25th, it probably would be a sweet and gratifying tale, but the real story is more cringe-worthy. Timing is everything, isn’t it? Things done in their due time, even if waiting is required, creates a better epilogue, I’m learning. Oh, how I’m learning.
Timing…waiting…anticipating…These are the words I have carried in my back pocket these past few years regarding the tenor of my journey. Though life is feeling more settled these days, and God has provided some good things, things which deeply gratify, I have a sense there are other things I’m still waiting on Him to make clear, some plans yet to be revealed for which I have no conceivable blueprint. Waiting can be hard for this girl who likes a plan, predictable rhythms of life, and the false sense that I have full control of my own journey. Foolish girl.
So how do I respond to the waiting…the wondering?
Sometimes I fret…okay, maybe more than sometimes. We’re kindred spirits, right? I can share my “real” with you, can’t I?
Sometimes I go running full steam ahead, pursuing my own conceived plans, only to come up short, look around in confusion, and ask, “Where are all the presents?”
This season of Advent, when we anticipate the celebration of the birth of Jesus, has been a soothing reminder to me of the beauty of waiting on the God in whom I profess to place my trust, my life. It is a reminder of the infinite perfection of God’s timing. The word “Advent” comes from a Latin word that means “arrival” or “coming,” particularly of something or someone highly anticipated.
For century upon century, spiritually crippled humanity had been waiting for the long promised Messiah. And then, “…when the appropriate time had come, God sent his Son.” (Galatians 4:4) And it was at the perfect time and in the perfect way. In fact,
“God chose to come into the world as we all do, to be born as a baby in the midst of a chaotic world. By our own impatient standards this seems such a slow way to bring salvation to the world. But God may not always choose the easy answer or the quick fix. But by His earthly incarnation He demonstrates a total commitment to the very core of humanity—a commitment to its day by day routines and challenges, a commitment to humanity from the cradle to the grave and beyond. And in that same incarnational way, God comes to us day by day…making the ordinary extraordinary; making the broken whole; and redeeming and restoring the past, present and future, whatever they hold.” Unknown author
The most beautiful part of Advent is that not only did God keep His promise by sending His Son as a baby in a manger, but it also reminds us that He will be coming again. Those of us who claim Him as Lord and Savior are still Advent people, anticipating and longing for the day when He will come back to reclaim His own. Scripture says, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you.” (Zephaniah 9:9) He is God of the past but He is also God of the future! How I cling to this truth, my friends!
Do you know Him, this God of eternity, this God of perfect timing? Do you know He cares deeply for the things in your life on which you wait? Are you waiting on a new baby, a move, a promised promotion, or a much needed vacation? Are you in need of a new job, a prodigal son or daughter to find their way home, financial relief, or healing for a hurting or fractured relationship? He sees you, He hears you, and He cares.
Friends, my prayer for you this Christmas is that if you want your ordinary made extraordinary, your broken made whole, and your past, present, and future redeemed, whatever they hold, that you look no further than the Christ-child, Emmanuel, God with us. There are many things in life on which we must wait, but a personal relationship with Him is the one thing I know for sure we do not have to wait on for one year, one day, one minute longer. He is available now, and He beckons you to come. Come to Him empty, come to him broken, come to Him with simply a soft heart and open ears, and He will meet you in His perfect timing and in His perfect way.
With that said, I give you my heartfelt affection, my deepest regret on having been a wretched seven year old, and a sincere wish for the Merriest of Christmases!