People this time of year tend to wear themselves out. They attempt to hide it or act like everything is holly jolly, but I can tell when people are tired and worn out and I am sure you can too. You can see it in their eyes and their body language. When I ask people who look tired how they are really doing, they usually respond with the phrase, “Just trying to survive.” With only one week left till Christmas it has become a race to survive. Survive the relatives, parties, travel, decorations, and the list goes on. Are you just trying to survive another Christmas? Have you become so worn down by the circumstances of the season that the only thing you anticipate is the end?   

Anticipation comes in different forms. Two thousand years ago the people of the earth yearned in anticipation for the Messiah. Listen to the Apostle Paul from the book of Romans (8:22-25) as he talks about anticipation.  

“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

We live a culture of “now” and waiting is not something that we like to do or believe we have to do. If we want it…then it is only a phone call or click of the mouse away. But let me take you back to a time when it wasn’t always like this. Do you remember the times as a kid that you waited for your Christmas presents? The feeling of excitement and joy mixed all together, as you anticipated what lie behind the wrapping.

I believe that feeling as a child captures the feeling of those long ago who waited for the messiah. The anticipation of Christmas today is really a flashback of the physical experience of the anticipation of 2,000 years ago. The earth groaned for a Messiah… they waited in anticipation. They eagerly longed for the Chosen One. The moment of his arrival was precious.

The holiday has become a burden and “Holy days” are not meant to be a burden but a time of celebration. Maybe this year we can turn our survival mode into a season of anticipation of the joy, the merry, of Christmas. It might be a matter of taking our focus off the things that can’t be controlled and place it on the One who has control; not anticipating the end, but anticipating the coming of the Savior.

Questions to think about and respond to: Are you just trying to survive another Christmas? Have you become so worn down by the circumstances of the season that the only thing you anticipate is the end? What can you do today to turn your thoughts away from survival mode into the anticipation of King Jesus?

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