Many years ago on a drive to the Story Land amusement park, my three- and five-year-old boys screeched in the back seat with excitement. Every 30 seconds it seemed they would beg in anguish, “Are we there yet?” My husband’s patience grew thin, and his responses became an increasingly terse “No!”
In a moment that we all now laugh about, my husband threatened to stop the car and turn around if the boys asked one more time. The car filled with total silence. Thirty seconds later my three-year-old laid his little head reluctantly on the car window and gazed out, chanting in a whisper to himself, “Are we there yet? NO! Are we there yet? NO! Are we there yet? NO!” My husband and I doubled over in laughter.
This has become my Advent chant. The commercial build-up to Christmas makes it so hard to stay in the “We’re not there yet.” Our office parties and school gift exchanges all come before the celebration of Christmas itself—in my book they should all come afterwards. To stay in Advent, I imagine myself in the back seat of a car on a drive to my Story Land—the moment of sitting alone in that space of prayer with the angels, basking in the fullness of the Incarnation, the moment the chorus at church belts out “Joy to the World” with trumpets and bells, the moment of being with my family—especially that little boy who is now 19 and coming home from college. Are we there yet? No! But if I can keep myself in the back seat, screeching with anticipation for just a few more days, I know I will not allow a single one of those Christmas moments to pass me by unnoticed or unwrapped.
What are the moments you are waiting for with anticipation this season?