Pine needles and cinnamon. Nutmeg and spiced wine. Holly berries and gingerbread.
All of these speak to my heart, reminding me that the Christmas season is upon us. There is a familiarity, warmth and excitement to it all.
Yet there is also a longing.
And the older I get, the greater that longing becomes. It’s a deep ache, not an acute pain. The kind you almost forget that is there. Until it rears up all of the sudden and claws at your insides, much like a hunger pain, telling you that something is amiss, something is lacking.
That is kind of how I feel about Christmas.
Yes, there is so much festivity and fun and yumminess to the season. Yes, I delight in watching my children open their presents with giddy anticipation and cherish their shouts of joy and laughter and smiles.
And yes, of course it is a joy to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child, to rejoice as the shepherds and wise men did when they heard that the Son of God, the long-awaited Messiah, had finally arrived!
But there is still a longing. An ache that wants to be filled. An awareness that this is not all there is.
And so I wait.
Expectantly. With hope. With giddy anticipation and child-like joy. Because I know what is to come, what is waiting beneath that tree, what is inside that tiny little gift box, wrapped up, perhaps simply, but which contains the most precious treasure in all the world.
Come, Lord Jesus, come. O come, Emmanuel.