Daily devotionals during Advent have been a family tradition in our home for around thirty years now. We began when our children were small and had difficulty waiting for Christmas to arrive. Like most young children, our sons and daughter would lift the packages and shake them to determine what might be inside. Did that box contain a new set of Legos? Was that an EasyBake oven? The children would sit around the tree eying all the gifts, trying to decide which one they would open on Christmas Eve.
To ease their impatience for Christmas in those early days, I placed a small box on the table each night during Advent. Wrapped in silver with a bright bow on top, the box had a false bottom which we could open night after night. Inside was a simple craft with a scripture verse that spoke about the theme for that season. One child would get to create the craft, another would read the scripture. Opening the box each night was a special honor rotated among the three kids. Opening the Advent “gift” released some of their energy as they waited to open the packages under the tree.
As the months passed and her belly swelled, Mary too felt…anticipation.
Like all pregnant mothers, Mary was anxious to meet her child. What would he look like? Would he be healthy? What would his future hold? Mary may have urged Joseph to complete the construction of a cradle. She herself gathered swaddling to wrap the baby. It was hard to wait those last months.
In Romans 8:21, the writer Paul talks about the future glory that believers will enjoy in heaven. “All creation anticipates the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.” The new believers were anxiously looking forward to the day when they would be released from persecution and suffering, but Paul urged them to wait patiently.
A friend of mine died last week. His wait is over. This year he will get to celebrate Christmas in God’s throne room! Do you ever think about heaven? Are you eager to get there?