It is possible that you have heard this story, but it is worth retelling. The current Dean of Duke Divinity School recently shared this in a publication.
“When I was a three-year-old child, my mom went to the Holy Land for a month. My dad was trying to write his dissertation, and the last thing he needed was a three-year-old pestering him all day long. He soon discovered that I loved the Good Humor Man, whose truck arrived in our neighborhood around 3 pm each day. So every day at noon my dad would give me a quarter and tell me to sit on the front step and watch for the arrival of that glorious ice cream truck. He knew that I would sit patiently outside, waiting, and watching. Clever way to get three hours of free babysitting every day.”
The patient waiting and watching of Advent is far more powerful because we are preparing ourselves to receive the gift from God made flesh in Jesus. Despite the chaotic world in which we live, the times when we are overcome by violence and despair, or long for healing and wholeness, the gift from God breaks into our lives much like a child waiting day after day for a cool creamy treat.
Our hope in Christ, that we nurture during Advent, enables us to envision and embody the joy of Christmas.