December 4th, 2016
Three-year-olds do not like to wait – a statement that will be profoundly un-shocking to anyone who has ever spent more than 30 seconds in the presence of one. They are the world’s most impatient creatures because they’re old enough to get excited about future plans, but not quite old enough to have a firm grasp on how time actually passes.
I spent Thanksgiving at a friend’s house and her three-year-old daughter was single-minded in her mealtime focus. She was going to eat rolls. Lots of rolls. Only rolls. I arrived two hours before dinner and heard all about the rolls. As dinnertime inched closer, she took to patrolling the kitchen, eyeing the oven from whence the rolls would emerge. She kept up a running commentary the whole time: an ode to dinner rolls. This child is pretty Zen, as far as preschoolers go, but the wait for those rolls darn near did her in.
This time of year, there’s a lot of impatient waiting going on. There’s a children’s holiday book that captures it particularly well. The story features a young llama protagonist who becomes overwhelmed by all the Christmas buildup. The climax of the story comes with a frenzied shout of – “Llama Llama HOLIDRAMA!!”
Poor little guy. I can totally relate. I’m spending this holiday season waiting for the renovations on my ‘new’ (and by ‘new’ I mean I closed on the purchase 74 days ago, but who’s counting?) house to be finished so that I can actually move in. And it turns out that waiting doesn’t actually get any easier as you get older. It just becomes less socially-acceptable to throw yourself on the ground and shriek when things don’t go your way.
I love Christmas – LOVE IT – and it’s making me crazy that I can’t put up my Christmas tree yet or find the perfect spot to display my nativity set. As much as I might hope otherwise, drywall dust on the manger does not look like a sprinkling of snow. It just doesn’t. And thus there are many days when I’m pretty sure I bear a striking resemblance to a wild-eyed llama.
It’s actually appropriate to be waiting for my house right now because Advent is a season of waiting and preparation. It’s easy to get caught up in the tinsel, cookies, and giant light-up yard décor, but the lead-up to that first Christmas was anything but festive. Mary was seriously stressed out. Unmarried and pregnant. Forced on a hellacious road-trip to pay taxes to an oppressive tyrant. There’s a reason Jesus’ birth was heralded by a star – those were some dark days. The world needed the light.
So during this season of Advent we wait. The days get shorter and darker. The shopping list gets longer and longer. And we wait – impatiently – for the arrival of the Christ child. And for the completion of the bathroom rewiring. They’re both holy events, my friends. Bring on the light.