Earlier this week I went to the post office to mail a package for out-of-town family members.
I expected the line to be long. It was.
There were 17 people ahead of me. Some had only one or two items; some had eight or more.
I settled in for the long wait — as did everyone else, except for a few who saw the long line and then walked out.
I didn’t hear any impatient grumbling. I heard no complaints muttered or shouted. Like me, everyone had understood before walking in that the line was going to be long.
Well, there was one person in line that got a bit irritable and started making a fuss. The people with this person tried to offer soothing words. The fussing got louder, but then simmered down and quit.
No one in line was bothered by this sudden ruckus. In fact, some even smiled and offered their gentle assistance, knowing it was a natural thing to have happened.
The fuss was created by a tiny, very cute baby whose parents had a large number of parcels to mail out. The forms seemed endless as Mom patiently filled them out and Dad tended to the little one.
Patience versus impatience. Resignation versus anticipation.
In that little microcosm of the line in the post office, I saw events play out leading up to and including the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
For generations, the people knew they had to wait for the Messiah to arrive. They waited, and waited — for generations.
Some gave up their waiting and moved on to other matters in life. Some simply knew that eventually the Messiah would come, but weren’t very enthusiastic about it. Others kept their eyes focused and watchful, and were full of anticipation.
Then the cry of a newborn baby was heard, and eventually the sound reverberated around the world. The Messiah had been born, and nothing was ever the same again. The waiting was over. God’s promise was fulfilled.
The birth of God’s Messiah brought with it another promise: that those who recognize the Christ Child as the Son of God and the Savior of the world, will have their mistakes in life forgiven, and will live with God for all eternity once this earthly life is over.
Ultimately, this is what Christmas is all about. It is a Christian holy day in which we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
When you read this article, the wait for this year’s Christmas celebration will nearly be over.
May the anticipation of that celebration gladden your heart as our Lord’s arrival gladdened the hearts of God’s children those centuries ago.
The Rev. Mark Broadhead is pastor at Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview.