Have you ever waited, hoped, anticipated, or expected something to happen? If your answer is yes (and I’m sure it was), then you have hoped for something. Everyone has it in them to wait or anticipate or hope for something. Children especially have this built in them. But realizing what they are doing is something entirely different. They have to be taught what hope is and practice hoping. Join me today as we learn how to teach children what it means to anticipate or hope.
One of the definitions of hope is a feeling of expectation and desire to have something happen. This is basically what the whole world was doing before Christ came. They were waiting and expecting the Messiah to come. When Mary and Joseph came to present Jesus in the temple, Simeon was there to greet them. He had been waiting and waiting for years and was very old. If fact, his exact words of greeting to Mary and Joseph were, “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace…for mine eyes have seen your salvation.” He had anticipated that moment for years.
Children as I said before are pros at anticipating. They wait for the gifts under the tree on Christmas morning. They wait for summer vacation. They wait for Santa to come down the chimney. They wait for the first snow. They wait to be grown-ups. But in order for them to experience hope during this Advent Season, they have to be taught. I would suggest doing a mini-lesson on hope. Talk about how the world waited for Christ and ask them if they’ve ever waited for someone or something. Then tell them today we are going to experience what hope feels like. Tell them something fun that you are going to do today (make sure that it is for today). This could be a special dessert for dinner, going to their favorite restaurant, playing a game together, reading a special book, watching a Christmas movie, or going to drive around to look at Christmas Lights. Make sure they are excited about what you are going to be doing and again talk about how they are now hoping for something to happen. Don’t forget when you are fulfilling the event, to ask them how it felt to anticipate that something was going to happen. Then give them something again to hope in for this weekend. Maybe this could be going shopping for a Christmas present for dad or mom, or maybe it could be going to the mall or Bass Pro to visit Santa, or maybe it could be taking a ride on the Polar Express, or maybe it could be baking Christmas cookies or building a gingerbread house! Whatever activity or special event you choose, again talk about waiting, anticipating, and hoping. Don’t forget to always tie it in with hoping and waiting for Jesus.
So today during this second week of Advent recall what it means to hope, wait, and anticipate for something.