[Editor’s note: And a Merry Christmas to youLoCO friends. Your Lost Coast Outpost presents the second week of its “faith-y” section featuring another piece by contributor Bethany Cseh, co-pastor of Catalyst Church in Arcata.] 

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Do you remember what it was like to be a child and anticipate Christmas? I remember. I remember and I’m envious of that child in me. The child who couldn’t wait until Christmas morning. Who would search out the crack of space under my parent’s bed to discover what pre-wrapped gifts lay buried in the dark for me. My mother was great at making us wait, saying the anticipation is the best part of Christmas. I thought she was full of crap. I would stare longingly at the gifts under the tree while enduring the painfully long Christmas morning breakfast. I would start foaming at the mouth while my father read the Christmas story out of our family Bible. My neck would twitch and my fingers itch while each of my siblings and my parents opened a present. One at a time. All seven of us. One. At. A. Time. Oh sweet baby Jesus. I could die. 

That week before Christmas was the longest week of my life. There was no longer week in human existence, with the week before summer taking a close second. Oh, and of course the week before my birthday coming in third. But that Christmas week? Man it was a doozy. 

You know, this season, the season of Advent is about the waiting. It’s all about waiting and anticipating and looking forward. What’s happened to us? I don’t know about you, but for me, this month has flown by. These days, preparing for Christmas starts the week before Thanksgiving (heresy). There is much cool junk to buy. If you’re really good then you get it all done before the second week of December and you may get to relax, but if you’re like me, you wait until the very last week before Christmas. Out of nowhere, that last week which took an eternity when you were a child, now slides by faster than butter on a hot skillet. 

This year we’re trying something different. Our wacky family decided that we’d only buy used, charity or handmade items to give as gifts. In addition, the money we would save from our Christmas budget would be given away. I know, crazy. But before you pat me on the back, know that I am kicking myself because, oh my goodness, it’s the last week of Christmas, the garage sales are over, the thrift store offerings lack cool and I’m all out of good will to men! This last week is quickly slipping by and I’m missing the anticipating again. I’m missing it. 

So I wait. Sometimes that’s all we can do. 

We wait. I sit here in the quiet of my home, my children tucked snuggly in bed after the fight of going to sleep and I find peace. I find stillness. I find that being present, by taking that deep breath and being fully present allows me to open up to the waiting, to looking forward to what I know will come: the birth of Christ, the celebration of Christmas and of all things made new. 

I hope I don’t miss it because I’m moving too fast. 

PREVIOUSLY: When Christmas is Hard