I remember a time when I was a child. My family was at Disney World and in line to ride the Jungle Cruise. The line was long, and it was hot. As my younger sister Kathleen and I wove in and out of the turnstiles — inching our way along and, with each step, getting closer to the great and exciting “unknown” — I remember studying the faces of those both ahead of me as well as behind. I didn’t know them or they me. We were complete strangers; yet, I remember feeling somehow that we were all in on something quite grand.
As is the way of amusement park turnstile lines, we continued to pass one another — catching an occasion eye and perhaps even a wink and a smile — for much of the duration of the wait, until those ahead boarded the cruise vessels and embarked on their journey.
“What’s the little girl wearing the purple terrycloth jumpsuit (It was the 70’s, after all!) thinking now? Is she laughing? Is she scared?” I wondered. “Will I ever see her again? Perhaps on ‘It’s a Small World’.”
You know, I don’t even remember much about the Jungle Cruise ride. I think there were elephants bathing. A cobra being lulled from its basket by a flute-playing man with a beard. What I remember most is the waiting — the journey that brought me, step by step, closer to the lingering unknown. Anticipation. Expectation.
And so it is with the season of Advent. Each day, we’re one step closer. Some of us even have calendars with little doors to open — one for each day of December. The doors opened are the days that have passed; the ones closed are the days that lie ahead. Behind each door, however, lingers a treasure — whether a little picture or perhaps a piece of candy. Anticipation and expectation grow.
Finally, December 25th will come, and folks from around the globe will celebrate in their own special way with their own unique traditions. Complete strangers will share in the grandeur of a Baby’s birth, even if everyone doesn’t recognize His coming nor celebrate it. Yes, on Christmas Day the world feels somehow smaller. And for everyone, the Advent Season will come to an end, as will the waiting with anticipation and expectation. We will have arrived.
It is my hope that each of us will find joy in the journey. I hope that we will look each other kindly in the eye, perhaps even give a wink, as we share in this Something Grand. Savor each Advent day. Prepare our hearts for the final Destination. And love as He first loved us.
Remember — Although the journey called Advent comes to an end on December 25th, the true Reason for Christmas can live in our hearts all year long — giving us reason to celebrate as we journey through life and making every day a treasure!
Yes — something Grand!