Anticipation, longing, waiting, excitement…those were the emotions of the Christmases of my childhood. Back then a big thick Christmas catalog came from Sears, Montgomery Wards or J.C. Penneys and us kids would have such fun looking, dreaming, longing. Toys, gifts, and candy were not common and ordinary, but were rare and precious. They were a luxury seen at our house only on holidays.
On Christmas Eve we hung Daddy’s big woolen work socks. I remember going to bed and tossing and turning, my tummy so full of butterflies that I nearly felt sick with excitement.
Before dawn we would wake up, to find that “Santa” had filled our stocking with an orange in the toe, some nuts, and a few candies. Under the tree would be little trinket gifts that us seven kids had bought for each other with our pennies, nickels and dimes at the little variety store up the street. My big gift from Mama and Daddy might be a doll or some toy dishes. I remember best the year it was a fancy, lace trimmed nightie and matching robe that Mama had sewn for me.
I am sad that today we have so much excess that we, that our children, no longer know what it is to long for, to wish for, to anticipate, to be happy and excited with a simple woolen sock filled with fruit, nuts, and a few candies. We have forgotten what it means to wait with our stomach full of butterflies. We are so overly full, we have forgotten how wonderful something is when you are actually hungry.
It is three days before Christmas. I find myself full of longing, hoping, wishing, anticipating. Once again I have been pouring over pages, my fingers caressing the thing I want, the present I am hoping to receive. He is an expert at building the suspense, at making me long for it until I think I’ll burst, and then just when I don’t think I can stand it anymore, He comes. He reveals Himself in the Word, or in the worship, in the meeting of the congregation, or in my quiet place alone with Him. He understands that to taste something and see that it is oh so good there must first be a hunger. I’m hungry for some Living Bread this Christmas.