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A Waiting World, the Anticipation of Christmas, and What We Learn About the Love of God

anticipation

“Our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” — Augustine

The first snowfall of the year is an exciting time for those of us living in northern regions of the United States and throughout Canada. Sure, it’s cold. But it really is pretty.

White clouds cover the horizon from highway to hilltop and from them fall millions of frozen flakes. What was once dingy, brown colored ground is purified by a blanket of white snow.

For many of us, though, snow is most exciting in context—particularly, the context of the Christmas season. Winter is a wonderful time full of sledding, skiing, and snowman construction.

But what gets me most excited is the idea that Christmas, a time I wait for all year, is finally on its way.

Anticipation

C.S. Lewis, in one of his most well-known works, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, touches on this very theme. You see, as the story goes, the four Pevensie children somehow find their way through an old wardrobe and into a place called Narnia.

Sadly, this magical land full of fauns, minotaurs, and talking beavers is under the dominion of the White Witch. Among other more serious penalties, she vows to keep the countryside in an icy prison: “always winter, but never Christmas” as Lewis puts it.

Can you imagine that—a world where it’s always bitterly cold and blustery, yet without the one holiday celebration that makes it all worth it? The Narnians were waiting, always waiting, for something that never seemed to come.

Christmas Eve is a night of anticipation. We live in a dark world where, like Narnia, it almost feels like we live in a perpetual state of winter. In our hearts, we sense a certain longing but know that it’s not just for the presents or peppermint cookies this holiday season brings.

We Long for Freedom from Our Own Insufficiency

Most in our cultural context seem to be focused on the bigger and the better—‘good enough’ simply isn’t good enough. Everything from the house to the car to the backyard needs improvement. Looking at ourselves, we can’t help but long for more successful careers, fashion forward wardrobes, and thinner waistlines.

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Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., is a professor and dean at Wheaton College where he also serves as Executive Director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, has earned two master’s degrees and two doctorates, and has written hundreds of articles and a dozen books. He is Regional Director for Lausanne North America, is the editor-in-chief of Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited in, interviewed by, and writes for news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He is the Founding Editor of The Gospel Project, a curriculum used by more than 1.7 million individuals each week for bible story. His national radio show, Ed Stetzer Live, airs Saturdays on Moody Radio and affiliates. He serves as interim teaching pastor of Calvary Church in New York City and serves as teaching pastor at Highpoint Church.