I suppose you’ve noticed that mall parking lots transform this time of year from easily accessible valleys of parking opportunities to hot beds of competition and anxiety. Typically mild mannered drivers become death defying Kamikaze pilots with only one mission: find a parking space. Preferably legal parking but that’s not mandatory. My personal survival strategy is to drive to the biggest, busiest entrance to the mall and then wait. I wait for some unsuspecting shopper to walk out to their car as I casually drive my car after them, trying to get first dibs on their spot. But do you know what happens? They hang a tight left and walk across two row of cars leaving me in the dust or even worse, I follow them all the way to their car only to find them dropping off their packages in their trunk and return to the mall. They leave me as they found me: waiting for a parking space.
I hate waiting. To me waiting is like someone punching my hold button, leaving me in the land of limbo. After all, I did not go to the mall to sit in the parking lot. I went to go inside the mall. Fortunately, in the Christmas story there was one expert on waiting. His name was Simeon. The Holy Spirit revealed to him that he would see the Messiah one day before he died. But needless to say, the Holy Spirit does not appear to have told Simeon any specifics. Simeon didn’t know when or where or how the Messiah was going to show up. He just knew He would. From reading scripture, we know that Simeon met the baby Jesus when Mary and Joseph presented Him in the temple. But we have no clue how old Simeon was when the Holy Spirit revealed to him that one day he would see the Lord’s Christ. What if he was a 16 or 23 years old when the Holy Spirit first came to Simeon? What if he lived years, decades, looking, listening, waiting? Do you think he became discouraged? Did people make fun of him and tell him his hope was unfounded, illogical and senseless? Difficulties surely happened in Simeon’s life just like ours: sickness, money problems even death of a love one. But Simeon was told to wait for the Messiah everyday, not just the easy days.
How did he do it? The truth is Simeon was doing more than waiting on the Messiah, he was expecting the Messiah. Doesn’t that change everything? Think about the times in your life when you have waited for something wonderful: a baby, a graduation, a new home or even a visit from an old friend. That sweet sense of expectation can add streams of hope to even the toughest days.
The Christmas season is a time we are to be living in expectation of the coming of the Christ Child. Are you expecting the Christ Child this Christmas even amidst the cookie baking and list making? Don’t spend this holiday season waiting for Jesus like you would wait for a parking space. Let the sweet expectation of the coming of the Lord sift through your busyness, your loneliness and your joyfulness this Christmas…and beyond.