I had it all figured out. If I sat on the stairs and was quiet enough, my parents wouldn’t even know that I was there. I was determined to stay awake until Santa came. Almost made it. I woke up on Christmas morning in my bed. My attempts at stealth had not worked. I fell asleep on the stairs, and then dad picked me up and deposited me in the bed. That was hard since I was 16 at the time.
Kids don’t wait well. Do you remember thinking that Christmas would never get here? As children, we knew something was up. Whispers when they thought we weren’t close enough to hear … mysterious rustling near closets … vague answers to pointed questions.
Some of us were pretty good at snooping. Some could open a package and reseal it, believing that no one could detect the damage to the wrapping. Charles Swindoll told the story of checking out the gifts under the tree. He had given repeated hints that he wanted a basketball for Christmas. Seeing a round package with his name on it assured him that his wishes were about to come true. He didn’t bother to examine the present any closer. To his chagrin, when he opened the package the Christmas morning he discovered a brand new globe. Almost made it.
Our impatience spills over when we consider the condition of our world. Few of us like to wait for anything. We look for the shortest line, move toward believing we get through faster. Almost made it. The person at the register decides to go on break or the person in front of you pulls out a folder full of coupons. We (as in me) are in a hurry too much of the time. It affects us (as in me) when we drive so we lean on the horn or have conversations with people in cars ahead of us who cannot possibly hear us.
If I could give us all a gift this Christmas, it would be one of shalom. It is a wish for well-being, for contentment, for confidence that we can rest in the amazing love of God. After all, Christmas is really all about His gift, not ours.