Today's Scripture: Psalm 106:6-15 (read)
As a child, during the advent season, my brother and I would lie in bed each evening, and one of us would ask the other: "What if tonight was Christmas Eve?" I wish I could say we eagerly anticipated the celebration of Christ's birth. In reality, as 8- and 11-year-olds, all we anticipated was the luscious booty of good ole' American consumerism.
The Psalms tell about the Hebrews who were asked to remember the good things God had done for them and to wait patiently for his ultimate plan to unfold. Like children waiting anxiously for Christmas, the Hebrews managed to totally miss the point of waiting.
After the wrapping paper is cleaned up and the anticipated toys are broken or discarded, too often we walked away feeling unfulfilled and empty. The Hebrews also received what they had asked for, and they, too, were disappointed and even cursed because of their impatience.
What if our children were more excited about the gifts they were going to give? What if they looked forward to spending time with extended family, enjoying more meaningful Christmas traditions? What if they got to serve others as a part of the holiday? What if the Hebrews had been more content, living in the knowledge of God's grace and protection?
What if we lived lives of greater contentment, enjoying our friends and family far above any anticipated booty this Christmas season?
Let's spend the Advent season thoughtfully reflecting on God's blessings in our lives and celebrating the joys of those blessings.
Jeff Buscher is campus minister and director of community service at William Jewell College.
This 2011 Advent devotion originally appeared in the November 17 issue of Word&Way.