When I was probably six or seven years old, I remember a particular Christmas Eve where my dad went out of the house for something and a good chunk of the evening, it was just mom and us kids.
Suddenly, my mom got all excited and animated. “You need to go to bed. Right now.”
I asked why.
She replied, "Because Your Dad is bringing Santa to the house right now, and he won’t come in if you are awake and can see him.”
I got both frustrated and excited. Santa Claus was actually coming to my house in mere minutes to bring us gifts! It was exhilarating and excruciating all at the same time. Why did he not want to be seen? Why couldn’t I meet him? What was he bringing me?
I ran into the room and closed the door, leaning against it and clutching the doorknob while I waited. Sure enough, I heard Dad’s car drive into the driveway, and I was insane with anticipation.
Then I started to think about something else. Why was Santa coming to my house…in my Dad’s car? Was the sleigh broken down and he needed a lift? Did my Dad know Santa like they were buddies? Did they talk throughout the year during the off season?
At any rate, I heard the back door open and close. I couldn’t handle the ridiculous pressure. I slowly turned the doorknob and cracked the door open, just barely enough to see movement about the room. But it was impossible to make out what or who was causing the movement. Was it Santa? Was it an elf? Just my mom and dad making sure I wasn’t peeking?
Yikes! I don’t want to be the cause of Santa suddenly bailing on the delivery because I was being naughty and trying to spy on him. I closed the door again and paced aggressively around the room.
Finally, my mom opened the door and said I could come out, and sure enough, Santa was gone but the tree had new, special presents that hadn’t been there before. Santa was obviously a class act.
Have you ever had that kind of anticipation before? Maybe it was your own Santa or Christmas experience. Or maybe you spent weeks excited about an upcoming vacation to somewhere special. Some of you felt that way leading up to your wedding or honeymoon. The many things we have laid in wait for with great anticipation would fill a book with more than you could find in the great Sears Christmas Wish catalog (if you are too young to know what that is, my heart grieves for you).
Some of you might have anticipation of the second coming of Jesus Christ. First, let me say, I share that longing. I really do.
But there’s a good chance you call that a small anticipation at best. It's not that you don't love Jesus or anything like that. But it's a little out of your grasp, perhaps. It might not even happen in your lifetime, so what’s the point? You’ve never seen him, and everything you have experienced has taken place here on this earth where Jesus doesn’t currently reside. And who wants to admit that they’re not that giddy about sitting around and waiting for Jesus to come back?
But consider this; just because it’s hard to wrap your imagination around the return of the Messiah doesn’t mean that you don’t have something to be excited about.
Imagine what it would be like to BE Santa. I don’t mean for every good little boy and girl in the world, but I mean for one or two people. People who haven’t had a break in a long while. Men and women who have lost hope for their own future. What would it be like to restore their faith in humanity this Christmas season? A Christmas hamper. An invite to a holiday party. Someone willing to regularly pray for a breakthrough in their lives. Maybe someone just needs to know that there are people in this world who actually care.
And what would that feel like? Being someone’s Santa. Being the person who changed their Christmas from a frown to a smile?
Now let that feeling be the source of your own anticipation. Imagine the great joy Jesus experienced each and every time he healed someone, fed someone, or enlightened someone. He wants you to share in that kind of joy.
So, what are you waiting for this Christmas? Sit down and plan how you’re going to Santa someone this week. Chances are the anticipation will grow inside you to where you’re the one pacing the floor of your bedroom wishing to be the reason for someone else’s holiday cheer.