This is the longest week of the year. Ask any child. Grownups think the final week before Christmas is much too short. So much to do and so little time. Not near enough time to get it all done, last-minute shopping, getting the last of the Christmas cards in the mail, wrapping, travel arrangements, choir rehearsals, grocery store runs to grab that forgotten item, tips for the letter carrier, newspaper delivery person and many others, and so on.
But not kids. Those old enough to get excited by Christmas or Hanukkah count down the days and suffer what feels like an an interminable wait for the Big Day to arrive. Out of school for an extended break, trying hard to fill the time with distracting activity, anything to make the time pass more quickly. Sigh.
Not only children. The impatient waiting also strikes some adults. We know who they are. These are people who do their gift shopping while on summer vacation, possibly supplemented in a Black Friday sale or two after Thanksgiving. They take their wrapping and greeting card writing and mailing in stride, calmly checking off their pre-Christmas tasks with time to spare.
December 25 falls on Sunday this year, awkward timing for many churches whose staffs scramble to strike a balance between traditional liturgical demands for appropriate worship services and the desires of their faithful who’d rather spend the day at home with their families.
The waiting anxiety is not limited to Christmas alone. This year, Hanukkah arrives on December 24, the same day as Christmas Eve. This week might seem to be dragging, but try to be patient, kids. The Big Day will arrive. It always does.