Thursday, December 24, 2015

Waiting--'tis the Season

Kevin Henkes has won a Caldecott Medal before, and many children's lit folks thinks he is on target again with this title.

Let's face it, no matter what our age, we spend time waiting--and complaining about waiting. One source says we spend 6 months of our lives waiting in line!  If a website is too slow to load--a matter of a few seconds--it's bye, bye website. We hate waiting for anything.

By David Shankbone (David Shankbone) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

In my faith tradition, we are at the end of the period of waiting known as Advent. This kind of waiting is more like wild anticipation for Christmas, the birth of Jesus. Of course, those without faith traditions may also feel this anticipation as they wait for Santa to bring gifts from the North Pole. 

This kind of waiting is much more active than the waiting in line kind. Have you noticed the frenzy as we get closer to December 24 and 25? We remember friends and relatives with cards and gifts, though this may be the only time all year that we are in contact. Still, we appreciate them. We wait to hear from them, too. We flour our kitchens in a flurry of cookie baking, making specialties enjoyed usually once a year. And every year  we wonder if we'll get it all done on time--while we wait for Christmas to come.

As a child did you hate waiting for time to open presents? It's excruciating to wait for grown-ups to visit, and eat, and drink coffee, and clear the table, and do dishes until it's finally time to open gifts!

Which brings me back to this deceptively simple picture book.  Five toys on a windowsill watch and wait, each for something different. The toys are happy to get what they waited for, which happens at irregular intervals. And in the meantime, time goes by, and the toys wait.

I could read in some "live in the moment" advice here. Be happy while you wait. Joyfully anticipate what will happen next. Watch what's going on, and delight in the little things. Or maybe it's just a book about toys waiting on a windowsill.

Christmas is upon us and a new year is around the corner. What do you joyfully anticipate? What are you waiting for? 

I'll leave you with this for Merry Christmas, peace on earth, and goodwill to ALL, today and in the year ahead: