Do you remember how hard it was to wait for Christmas when you were a kid?
I’m reminded of that every year at about this time as I watch the excitement in my two boys, Trent and Troy, grow over the holiday season. But their giddiness reminds me of something else as well.
The wealth is in the waiting!
You see, I’ve realized it’s the waiting that makes Christmas feel so special. Obviously, kids look forward to ripping the paper off gifts to discover what’s inside. And, let’s face it, even we “big kids” can get excited about gifts under the tree. But we often don’t consider that Christmas morning is so exciting because of the anticipation that builds toward that moment.
It’s the same with life.
It’s hard to wait for those things our hearts yearn for. Maybe it’s a spouse, a physical healing, or a better job. Perhaps every year we pray and wait for that wayward child to return to faith.
And yet, here we are, living in a world that’s moving faster and faster. Whether it’s real-time news updates about events happening on the other side of the world, or getting texts from friends, family, or co-workers within seconds, we’ve grown accustomed to immediacy. We’ve been conditioned to get what we want, or get where we want to go, sooner rather than later, and we feel slighted if we have to wait.
I like the speed of modern conveniences as much as anyone else. But in all of our haste, I feel like children and adults alike are losing the ability to wait, something that’s important to our well-being.
Scripture is filled with verses and almost too many stories to count about God expecting His people to wait on Him and to trust in His timing, even reminding us that the Lord is not “slow to fulfill His promise” (2 Peter 3:9). He has woven the need for patience and faith into the very fabric of life.
Our richest treasures – deeply committed relationships, gaining wisdom, or a solid connection with our spouse and kids, to name just a few – are cultivated slowly, over time. You can’t download an app, and there’s no shortcut. When we try to “microwave” our lives – well, we usually end up substituting the very things that give life its richness and beauty with a cheap imitation instead.
Listen, I have no intention of tossing my smartphone and iPad out the window. But every Christmas I’m glad for the reminder – as well as for the chance to teach my two boys – that the true wealth of life happens in the waiting.
I’d like to hear from you: Have you noticed a sense of impatience creep into your heart on occasion? If so, how do you combat it? How are you teaching your children the art of waiting on God? Please share your thoughts in the comments section, below.