It seems I have spent the better part of this month waiting. ..
Waiting for my turn at parent-teacher conferences…
Waiting for my camcorder tape to transcribe to the computer and then write to DVD (15 hours). ..
Waiting for my computer to install Microsoft Office 2007 (4 hours)…
Waiting for the cesspool company to arrive (6 hours)…
Waiting for the cable company to fix a cable cut by road construction so I could recovery my telephone and internet service (4 hours)…
Waiting for General Electric to come repair my oven (3 hours and counting as I write this)…
Waiting for slow-moving cars and people to get out of my way…
Like most humans, I am impatient when my time is in the hands of others. If I don’t get my mind on something else and try to make the best use of my waiting time, it can be truly maddening and I wind up with a big headache. Yet whatever is at the end of my wait – even if it is just getting home or having something work again - is greatly rewarding.
Thinking about my recent frustrations, I realized it is quite fitting that I would be spending so much time waiting this month. After all, it is Advent, and we are waiting for Christmas. A few minutes or hours here or there are just a drop in the bucket compared to the two thousand years we have been waiting for the second coming of Jesus.
The book of Acts tells us about the disciples as they stood watching Jesus be lifted up into the clouds before them. He had told them, “The exact time it is not yours to know. The Father has reserved that to himself.” (Acts 1:7) They kept staring until some angels asked them why they were still standing there. Then they got to work establishing churches throughout the world. They might have thought they would have to wait a few days, weeks, or maybe years. Here we are still waiting, and working for the Lord in the meantime.
Children are just as impatient as us, and their behavior this month can be extremely frustrating. Their actions simply mirror ours, and we can use this time to teach them some lessons about eternity. The four weeks of Advent waiting for Christmas can be treated as a microcosm of the wait for Jesus to return to take his Bride, the Church, home to Heaven forever. As the tale of the seven bridesmaids tells us, we are always to be ready and waiting. How we use this time on earth is of utmost importance.
Making this month a joyful and prayerful time can help keep the children – as well as ourselves - focused on Jesus.
Some activities that can help include:
Making Christmas cookies or chocolates
Keeping a Jesse Tree and reading the daily Advent scriptures for each symbols
Other Advent Calendars with daily activities or stories
All Christmas books
Lighting an Advent wreath
Putting beads for good deeds in an Advent bead box
Letting St. Nicholas come and put small treats in their stockings from Dec. 6 through Dec. 24; if they are naughty the Krumpus comes and leaves a potato instead.
Painting: 38 Scenes from the Life of Christ: 22. Ascension
1304-06 Fresco by Cappella Scrovegni (Arena Chapel), Padua