I sit in my living room, alone. I've finished "The Help," and I've yet to move on to a new book. I've ten of them that I plan to read before this break is over. Tomorrow will bring new characters, a new story line, and a new world to lose myself in.
But tonight I don't think of my next novel. I don't think of the finals I have just finished or the one last grade I am waiting to see online. I don't think of the Christmas presents I need to make or the meal plans I need to write. I don't think of anything really.
However, in the stillness...I feel the anticipation growing. I'm the only one awake, and yet our home seems to groan with the fullness of waiting. It is as if our hearts are pregnant with the knowledge that He is coming. Even with less decorations with usual, it is apparent that we are eagerly awaiting the day of Christ's birth.
The tree is lit up with angels and bears, construction paper and porcelain, new and old. Tiny hand prints and "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments sit next to my mother's carefully stitched "Jesus Loves Yous." A Santa on roller skates, which confused all of us non-believing children, hangs next to a miniature Cracker Barrel. But in all of these, what do we hold most dear? Why, it's the Nativity encased in a glass Hershey's kiss or the white bell engraved with a Creche. It's the funny little bags that say "Wise men still seek Him," and the golden angels that felt like precious metal in my hands as a child. Most of all, it is the angel, surrounded by cotton ball clouds, that I look for. As the top of our tree, it's as if she says, "See? I'm what they treasure! I'm what they hold highest! No, not me: The news I bring! For unto You is born this day a Savior who is Christ the Lord. I bring the Gospel...and they hold that high in this home."
But, tonight as I looked at the tree, I discovered that our angel was simply not there. For a moment, I panicked. Where is she? She's my favorite part and she's missing! And then I remembered: "I'm sorry, Anna. She wouldn't stay up. It was like she wanted to fly right off the tree. I'm sure it was because you weren't here to adjust her wings and make her dress look windblown. We'll try again when you have time." Oh. That's right. Mama told me that as soon as I returned home. The panic went away quickly, but my desire for her remains.
What if it right that she is not there yet? Though I miss her presence, it really isn't her time yet. At this point in the story, Mary and Joseph have the feeling that we do. This longing anticipation...this pregnancy of the heart. Like Mary could feel the Christ Child growing within, I can feel His presence growing within our home. I can feel the anticipation with each passing Christmas concert and tradition. With each carol I play on the piano, I can feel Him drawing near, waiting for the moment of His entrance, waiting for us to herald His glory.
Perhaps that is why my angel won't stay on the tree. Her part in the story hasn't come yet. Her moment of Hallelujahs isn't ready yet. The people aren't ready for the news. We must feel the anticipation before we feel the glory. We must know the wonders of His love before we see the wonders of His work. We must wait...for the Savior is coming soon.
And with Him comes a host of angels singing, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace and goodwill towards all men!"