“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Ferris, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.
When I was young, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas seemed to take years.
Why is that? Why does time seem to drag on so slowly when you are young? Especially the days leading up to Christmas!
From when I was young enough to remember to about age 13, this was reality to me.
Growing up, my family’s Christmas preparations (and longing) began the evening of Thanksgiving. I think it had something to do with the traditional start of the “Christmas Season” starting the day after Thanksgiving. After all, the last float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade feature’s Santa Claus
The entire parade is a Thanksgiving parade (at least, it used to be). But when Santa Claus made his appearance, Thanksgiving was over and now it was time to think about Christmas.
But to a little kid, that meant a virtual eternity as Christmas was still a whole month away!
The time dragged by so slowly! The school days seemed an eternity! I would almost constantly think to myself, “When will it be Christmas already!?!?”
I have to admit that I was pretty selfish in my anticipation and thinking. I wanted to see what I would get for Christmas. I could hardly wait to see what my parents, grandparents, and, of course, Santa Claus would bring me!
One year, I couldn’t wait. I just couldn’t. And I found out where my parents stashed the Christmas gifts. They were using an upstairs bedroom in my grandparents’ house. No one used that room anymore, as there wasn’t heat upstairs in my grandparents’ house.
My brother and I would stay at my grandparents’ house after school, waiting for my parents to get home from work. One day, we finished our homework and had nothing else to do. It was about two weeks before Christmas. My grandparents were downstairs taking a nap. We were bored.
So we decided to explore upstairs, where we normally weren’t allowed to go in the wintertime.
That’s when we found the hidden stash of Christmas presents! Already wrapped, of course. You would have thought we had found the lost Ark of the Covenant! Over the next couple of days we would sneak up there and look and fondle the wrapped presents – wondering, conjecturing, and debating what the presents could be.
After about a week, I couldn’t wait any longer. Christmas was taking forever to get here and I just had to know what I was getting.
So I peeled back a little of the wrapping paper on the biggest gift. That little bit didn’t reveal anything, so I peeled a little more, and then a little more. After some more peeling I finally could see that I was getting a BB-gun!
At first I was so excited I could hardly breath. But then I realized just how much wrapping paper I had peeled off to find out what the gift was!
I was a dead man! If my parents found out I had snuck up there and peaked, they’d kill me! So I carefully reapplied and re-taped the wrapping paper. I must have done a pretty good job because my parents never acted as if they had found out what I had done.
But I had to act suitably surprised on Christmas morning, when it finally arrived. I knew what I was getting, but I couldn’t let on that I knew.
After that year, Christmas seem to arriver faster and faster each year. I think it had more to do with the fact that I was getting older. But some of the magic was lost that year when I peeled back the wrapping paper.
Now that I’m grown with nearly grown children of my own, Christmas seems to arrive at light-speed each year.
In my family, preparations and anticipation for Christmas still begins the evening of Thanksgiving. But it seems that Christmas morning arrives the next day!
When I was kid, it seemed like traveling from Thanksgiving to Christmas was a long, arduous, uphill trek.
Now that I’m an adult, the travel time from Thanksgiving to Christmas appears to be a downhill run on an icy road.
Life is like that, I guess. It’s either uphill or downhill.
So, when the prophet Isaiah promises that when Christ comes every valley will be lifted up and every mountain made low, I have to smile. God is going to make life smooth once again. God is going to take the headlong flight down and the drudgingly climb up and make it all level.
God does this by taking away our sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I suppose life is still going to move pretty quick and slow all at the same time. But it will all be worth it because Jesus Christ is even now preparing a place in his eternal heaven for me.
Heavenly Father, thank you for leveling my life through your son, Jesus. I pray that I will be able to use the time you have given me to its fullest and to your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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