Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Is Coming

I think when I have kids I’m going to make them wait until they are at least 9 or 10-years-old until we celebrate Christmas with gifts and food. I’ll make them watch the neighbors put up lights, and go to school and hear about their friends’ gifts and what they got to play with. I’ll make them sing “Silent Night” when other kids are singing “Here Comes Santa Claus.” And on Christmas morning we will wake up early, run down the stairs, I’ll read them the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke, then go outside and paint the house, mow the lawn, and do some cleaning. But all through the day and the holiday season I’ll simply say to my kids, “Your Christmas is coming!”

Some people will call me the meanest dad in the world (probably my kids will say that), others will call me Ebenezer Scrooge, some will try desperately to bring me Christmas cheer and sneak my kids candy and gifts, but with a big smile on my face I’ll say “Thank-you” and give it all back to the kind people while I tell them, “Their Christmas is coming!” Then, they will look at me like I’ve lost my mind, my children will cry, and Santa will send out assassin elves with my name and address. But if they would just stick around until my children’s 9th or 10th Christmas they would be amazed.

They will stand and watch in jealousy as a semi-truck filled with all sorts of presents and candy pulls up in my driveway and dumps it all on my front yard. And then some will cry in awe and amazement as Mickey and Minnie Mouse themselves land on our yard in a private helicopter and take my children, my wife, and I to Disney World for the rest of December, with special tokens to ride first on every ride. And as I walk onto the helicopter, Mickey will hand me a microphone turned up loud enough for all who listen to hear me say, “I told you their Christmas was coming.” And off we will fly, and my children won’t be thinking about the past decade of present-less Christmas mornings or how they didn’t believe Daddy’s promise. They will only be thinking about how great things are and laugh in excitement about what else is in store for them and their long awaited celebration of our Savior’s birth.

So you’re asking yourself now, “Why are you going to do that?!” And my answer is basically, “I want my children to learn how to wait when they are young.”

Think about it. In the future, when they are grown, while others are freaking out over a couple of months or days and how they haven’t heard back from a job or college or some other situation, my kids will stand like statues in patience and say, “What? This? This is nothing! I once had to wait 10 years for Christmas! I can handle this short amount of time.” Then they will call me and say, “Ah Dad, you’re the smartest man alive! I’m so glad we learned how to wait.”

Man, think about if it actually happened like that. I’m kind of mad that my folks didn’t do that with me. Because here I am, 24-years-old and it’s the same thing over and over again with me. Ol’ Jonnyboy has to learn to wait. And he has to learn how to over and over again, possibly because it never can sink in or stick with him in his head, heart, and soul.

Maybe God is not so far off from this “No Christmas” method as we think. So many times I’m watching people achieve what I’m trying to achieve, get in a short amount of time what I’ve been waiting or saving for, or find so easily what I have been searching so desperately for. And when I look at Father, completely in shock or heartache as to why I don’t have it yet, He just smiles back at me and says, “Your Christmas is coming.”

Why aren’t the promises of God good enough for me? Why do I have to question every word or prompting of the Holy Spirit with responses like, “But how long…” or “I know, but…” or “Well how do I know that’s really even you saying these things?”

Why aren’t the promises of God good enough for us?

God does not speak random words or waste His breath. In Genesis 1, every word He spoke created something. And I think it’s still that same way with the words of the Lord today. Every word of God is a promise.

1 Thessalonians 2:13
“And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, THE WORD OF GOD, WHICH IS AT WORK IN YOU WHO BELIEVE.”

See, that’s the thing I’m coming to see about the word of God. It’s not always God tells you something or promises you something and then BANG! it happens. The word of God is something that “is at work in you who believe.”

Maybe one of the reasons we have so much trouble with waiting on the promises of God is because we don’t realize it is a process. It is “at work” in us, and we are not complete.

God speaks. He speaks life and good things. God desires to bless us. It’s not wishful thinking to believe in something better coming, it is faithful thinking. Yes, sometimes we suffer, sometimes God takes away, and sometimes we lose. But that is also because the word of God is at work in us.

We all know the expression “time flies…” And soon enough we’re looking back on our lives and wanting to go back to certain points, all the while wishing this future with a better life would hurry up and get here. We are never satisfied with now. I want to live a life where I am thankful for my past, excited about my future, and content with my present. That doesn’t mean that I don’t make strides towards bettering myself or wait for more to happen, but it’s very important to not get caught up in the “then” when God is using you in the “now.”

I don’t want to live a life where I’m always saying, “When ‘this’ happens, then I’ll…” or “When I get ‘that’, then I’ll…”

God is continually at work, even if we don’t see it. It may just be a feeling or unction, but He is at work.

2 Peter 3:9
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

The word of God says it—the Lord is not slow in keeping His promise! I believe that He doesn’t want our souls to perish as well as our hope. God is not out to destroy our faith and our hopes, even though sometimes I’ve felt like He was. He’s a good Father, and a Good Shepherd. He knows what we need, as well as what we don’t need.

Let the word of God be at work in you. Your Christmas is coming.

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