Growing up, Advent was a thrilling though exceedingly long four weeks. As a child, I eagerly counted down the days to Christmas, wishing the day would get here sooner. I’d learned that Advent was meant to be a time of preparation for Jesus’ coming, but all I knew was that time seemed to come to a halt each December. Christmas never seemed to come quickly enough. I had to wait.

It might be easy to think of ourselves as somehow above a child’s eagerness for Christmas. But I wonder if that’s really a good thing. After all, Jesus told his followers to become like children – perhaps we could learn something if we looked again at Advent with a child’s eyes.  

If we look carefully, we’ll find that scripture is full of excited waiting -  we hear countless stories of people yearning to live into God’s promises. John cries out in the wilderness and the Pharisees grow increasingly frustrated at his admonition that they have to wait still longer for the promised Messiah. Visiting with Elizabeth, Mary proclaims the great things her own son will do in God’s name – while recognizing that she will have to wait for the fulfillment of God’s promise. The Magi see the star at its rising and journey thousands of miles and countless hours before presenting their gifts to the Son of God. They each know they’re on the brink of something exciting – and yet they have to wait.

I wonder what might happen if we took the time to look at the world with a child’s eyes - to give ourselves permission to feel that kind of excitement and yearning. What might we find ourselves waiting for? Where might we see the hints that God’s grace and love are breaking into the world around us? Isn’t it hard to sit still when we know we’re on the brink of something exciting?

This Advent, I pray that all of us – who know the frustration of having been told to wait – will come to know that God is calling us to new and exciting things.

Christ is coming soon. Now, we wait.