Christmas is almost here and my kids are exploding with anticipation!
I totally love their enthusiasm! They go around the house singing Christmas carols, talking about what Christmas day is going to be like, even dancing! It’s powerfully cute and it reminds me of myself at 7 years old.
The other day one of my boys came up to me and gave me a hug. While he was hugging me, I felt something wet on my face. I looked up to see that he was crying.
“Why are you crying?” I asked
“I just love you so much at Christmas time.” He said. I’m not sure why the fact that it’s Christmas time moved him to tears when he loved on me but I almost wept myself.
I have to admit, I’ve been thinking an awful lot how I wish I felt the same way. Instead of anticipation, I tend to just go through the motions. Christmas can feel like so many additions to my task list, instead of a wonderful celebration.
All of this eager expectation that my children are experiencing reminds me of a very important time in my life.
I was in my late teens and I was soaking up God like a sponge. I was reading through the Bible for the first time, attending church every time the doors were open, and serving in the youth ministry.
I remember the anticipation I would feel as I pulled into the parking lot of our fellowship. I could hear the music coming from inside as I walked through the parking lot. My pace would quicken and my heart would beat harder while I stepped through the doors. I just knew I was going to encounter God there, and I did!
I spent many nights crying out to God for his touch on my life. I prayed so hard for Him to use me. I also shed countless tears as I thought about how much He loved me and I did my best to express how much I loved Him in return.
Much like Christmas, I tend to lose my faith anticipation a lot these days. I don’t run from the car to the church doors expecting a touch from Jesus, I often see many of my faith practices as things to check off a task list, and I can’t remember the last time I wept at the thought of His amazing love.
It’s no wonder I pray the words of Keith Green’s song “My Eyes are Dry” so often.
My eyes are dry. My faith is old.
My heart is hard. Prayers are cold.
What can be done for an old heart like mine?
Soften it up with oil and wine.
The oil is you; your Spirit of love.
Please wash me anew in the wine of your blood.
Just as my kids anticipate Christmas, I long to anticipate intimacy with the Father in my life. THAT’S what I want for Christmas! Anticipation. Expectancy! A hunger for Jesus that supersedes regimen, fatigue, and whatever else the miles have left encrusted on the wheel wells of this aging hot rod.
That’s my prayer for you and for me; that we would be granted the gift of anticipation. That we would approach our faith like kids on Christmas eve. That we would get our hopes up, that our pulses would quicken when we walk into a prayer meeting, and that we would cry tears of gratitude when we worship.