For anything. Even a day of shopping.
The day after Thanksgiving has long been the “unofficial beginning of the Christmas season” and “Black Friday” has been around since the early 1950s. Apparently, it began when employees started calling in sick for work so they could begin their Christmas shopping. Were you one of them? Then, as it became more popular to play hooky from work, many bosses began to offer the day off - with pay - as part of the Thanksgiving weekend. Back in the day, people celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday and then, on Friday, began shopping for Christmas.
Not too long ago, stores released their Black Friday flyers about a week before the big day with the announcement, “Doors Open at 6 a.m.” Then they transitioned to doors opening at midnight on Black Friday. Then we moved to opening Thanksgiving Day at 6 p.m. For some those holiday sales began even before Thanksgiving. So Black Friday begins – when? And who decided people shouldn’t, or couldn’t, wait for Friday? Maybe someone thought opening earlier might save lives? That was my son's theory: Opening earlier might prevent trampling or crushing others.
Then in 2005 the phrase, Cyber Monday was birthed (my favorite way to shop). But this year I noticed another change as I began to gather Christmas ideas online on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Cyber Monday is supposed to be the Monday following Thanksgiving. Many stores were boasting about their Cyber Monday sales – on Sunday! What? So now I don’t even need to wait for Cyber Monday? I can shop Cyber Monday – on Sunday? Or Saturday?
As Matt and I talked I found myself wondering,
Who decided one day wasn’t enough?
And is it any wonder I have a hard time waiting – for anything? (I would say, “we” but I don’t want to jump to conclusions. That wouldn’t be right, would it?)
I mean, seriously, I get frustrated sometimes waiting for my food in the microwave; that minute can be a long one when someone is hangry. I notice impatience rise when Pat and I travel; it’s awfully hard to be behind another traveler going 45 when you want to go 65 (or 65 when you want to go 75… or more). And let me just say, waiting in line at a checkout when you’re in a rush – ugh. So aggravating. I find myself counting the items of others when I’m rushed and hoping for a quick checkout in the 20 items or less lane. Gasp! It can cause all sort of anxiety when the person in front of me has more than the allotted amount. I once stood behind a man with 33 items! I’m sure you can imagine what that did to my rule-following-lack-of-patience personality. I’m always relieved when the lawbreaker and I don’t make eye contact. I’m sure they’d know I counted and am aware of their crime.
Maybe we’ve (whoops, I mean I...no…I mean we) we’ve just become conditioned by instant gratification so much so that we no longer have the patience for anything (I don’t even like it when our Internet is slow and we’ve had some s.l.o.w. Internet) or anyone – we just don’t have the patience for others. How often do children hear the words, "hurry up?"
Hurry up and get over here.
Hurry and get dressed.
Hurry, you don't want to be late.
Hurry up and get ready for bed.
Hurry up and finish eating.
Hurry up and _________________.
Hurry, hurry hurry. Rush, rush, rush.
But, impatience gets us into trouble. Did you know the average age a child receives their own smartphone is 10.3 and the average age a child is first introduced to porn is 8? This makes me incredibly sad. I heard the KLOVE radio team discuss this the other day and appreciated their advice: Don’t give a smartphone to a child for the simple reason of peer pressure. Some need it for safety but there are some who only need it to alleviate peer pressure. It might be tempting to give your young child a smartphone this Christmas - but if they aren't ready for the responsibility of it. Wait. It's okay to wait.
Is it any wonder we have a hard time waiting on God? We expect Him to answer our prayer – in our time; expect Him to show up – in our way. Expect Him to hurry, hurry, hurry – and He won’t. Peter explains, “the Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you” (2 Peter 3:9 NIV, emphasis mine). He has a planned time, too. It’s just not ours.
He spoke through Isaiah about the Child to come…
“For to us a Child shall be born, to us a Son shall be given;
And the government shall be upon His shoulder,
And His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
There shall be no end to the increase of His government and of peace,
[He shall rule] on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
from that time forward and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this” (Isaiah 9:6-7, AMP).
and it took over 700 years for Him to arrive.
Time is important.
Waiting is important.
As we allow God to change our identity – one letter at a time - let’s not become so distracted by our desire to have everything in our time - and on our terms - that we fail to grow in the art of P- Patience.
God-plans are worth waiting for. “….. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed” (Habakkuk 2:3, NLT).