As a kid, my anticipation was great. The family would gather at my grandparents’ home on Christmas Eve, and as we were driving home, there was only one thought on my mind: Santa Claus was coming to my house! I’d wonder which of the red blinking lights on antennas was really Rudolph. Time, I felt, was a precious commodity—I knew Santa would not come while I was awake.
With the expectation that Santa was going to be good to us, we boys wanted to be good to Santa. We would always leave a Big Mac meal out for Santa, and the next morning, part of the fast food meal would have been eaten. But, not only was the meal partially eaten—was Santa worried about getting too fat?—we three boys would find the tree surrounded with beautifully wrapped gifts. The gifts didn’t stay wrapped for long, ,but we opened them as quickly as we could with the anticipation that Santa was going to be good to us. And, year after year, Santa was good.
But, I must say that becoming an adult and playing Santa was far more enjoyable than waiting for Santa to come. My sons and I would log on to NORAD’s Santa tracker and watch as he traveled the globe, getting closer and closer to North America. Yes, my boys left Santa a Big Mac meal with the expectation that Santa was going to be good to them. And, I always tried to make sure that happened. When we’d arrive back at our home after a trip to Tammy’s parents, my job was always to get the two kiddos asleep. After they were asleep, I would assemble whatever needed assembling, and my anticipation was always seeing my boys’ face light up as they came into the family room on Christmas morning.
Most all of us can remember the anticipation we felt on Christmas Eve as we knew in our hearts that his sleigh would carry him to our homes with a sack full of gifts for us.
SPOILER ALERT: I don’t wish to burst your bubble, but Santa isn’t coming to town, but Jesus is. “The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God” (1 Thess 4:16). “The Lord Jesus [will be] revealed from heaven with his mighty angels” (2 Thess 1:7). No more suffering. No more hard days. No more tears. No more disease. No more war. No more politics. No more death. No more evil of any kind, for “we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thess 4:17).
I can pinpoint the day when Santa will come—December 24 of every year. But, I have absolutely no idea when the Lord shall come; he himself had no idea: “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only” (Matt 24:36). Yes, I know there are prognosticators who point to specific days. They’ve always been wrong, for no man knows that day. And, I’ll take the words of Jesus over those of the “experts” any day.
When Santa comes, every child needs to be in his bed fast asleep. When Jesus comes, we need to be wide awake anticipating that day: “You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matt 24:44). Be ready for that day. Be clothed with the blood of Jesus. Live a holy life. Be anticipating that Great Day!