God must just have me in transition...until the next phase happens. Yes, that will complete the longing inside. This job is just preparing me for my real purpose. Or, when I meet that special someone and we marry, that's when I will find what I really deserve. Buying a bigger house, making more money, having another kid, gaining more recognition...these are things that are on the way; the stuff now is just the testing, preperation, and set-up for what is to come. For the good stuff, the real stuff that is to come.
Why do so many of us need that "next thing" that "better thing" to complete us? To make us happy? We wait for our spouse, boss, father or friend to finally realize how promising we are, how much upside we have, and when they come to this realization...(and we're bound to get something as a result), finally the reason we stroll this earth will become clear. Shame on us.
Tonight I knelt to extend my arms to my daughter. She is in a very real transition, with somewhere to go. She's past crawling, past walking, now adjusting to a run. When her 15 month old little feet move so quickly her head can barely catch-up, she officially enters that next phase. Her four teeth flash before me as she grins like a happy jack-o-lantern in Autumn. Before my eyes I see the excitement of a child finding something new in life. Funny, those moments of pure joy seem to come to adults less and less, because we are waiting...waiting for something else. The wait is over.
Step with me away from the grit and grime of this life for a moment and walk back 2000 years to a fowl smelling stable. Inhale the filth and stench in the midst of something so beautiful. Listen to the rustling of the animals surrounding us...shed a sympathetic tear to the young girl terrified to deliver a baby...have compassion on her husband, ashamed he can't even provide her a bed. What would those simple shepherds who were present whisper to us today? I suspect they would share that we now wait for what has already come. The brilliance of the Magi would shine forth as they point to the baby in the manger with the same excitement in which they pointed toward the star that led them to the promised Messiah. You see, our heart longs for what we have already received. Immanuel, "God with us."
Nothing we wait for today compares with the treasure found in Bethlehem. Rejecting that gift ensures a life of waiting; futile attempts to fill a broken, empty heart. Bending our knee to embrace the Savior is even more meaningful than kneeling to embrace the running toddler we love so dearly. With each Christmas carol we sing, or present we wrap, let's remember the ultimate gift God gave us so many years ago. The gift of His very own son...nothing else is worth waiting for.