by Suzi Pitts

I’ve spent time behind the line at Kanakuk summer camp waiting to see our son after 26 days at camp. He’d never been away from us for anything close to a month and I am trying to be cool as I wait for the counselors to drop the rope and allow our entrance. How I have been waiting for this moment. We chat distractedly with the other parents, and finally, they drop the rope. We all walk in, then fast walk, and eventually stop caring about being cool and jog towards our kid. The hugs are filled with joy.

I’ve spent time waiting for a flight to land, the final leg of the journey out of Iraq. The road to Fort Dix is cold and windy, and I beg my husband to drive faster. We’ve been waiting six months for this day. We tick off each day on the calendar, counting down how many “sleeps” until he returns. Our family will be whole again, and I will sleep sounder than I have in months. And suddenly we are there and I see him, and the joy is immense as we smother him with saved-up hugs.

I’ve spent time in the Labor and Delivery waiting room, doing just that —waiting. There is a joyful expectation in knowing that the new arrival is about to be born. Hours pass until the text finally rings out, “He’s here! And he’s perfect.” Tears of joy and relief course down my cheeks as I unabashedly let my feelings out, oblivious to embarrassment from the others in the room seeing my emotional display. They totally get me, for we are all in the same place, all waiting for a long expected arrival.

There was a man long ago, at the first Christmas, who was waiting too. Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,

you may now dismiss your servant in peace.

For my eyes have seen your salvation.” Luke 2:25-30

Lord, as you have gifted me over and over again with joy after periods of expectant waiting, open my eyes and heart to your coming. May the Holy Spirit so fill me as I witness the manger become full, that it would be all that I need or want, regardless of any circumstance. May I regift this to others this Christmas season. Come thou long expected Jesus!