For many people, today marks the official beginning of the Christmas Season. It is the day when the early bird shoppers line up in front of the stores in high anticipation of great one-time deals. Last year a few stores attempted to get a step ahead and opened their doors on the eve of Thanksgiving. This year is was difficult to find a store that wasn’t opened on Thanksgiving!
When I worked at The Home Depot in Tulsa, the night before Thanksgiving was a fun but frantic time as all the management team stayed late after closing to prepare for the Black Friday sales. In my position as the Receiving Manager, it was my responsibility to deliver the merchandise that we had been storing in our area over the previous weeks that was especially ordered for the Black Friday sales. Therefore I spent about four hours zipping around on an electric fork lift downloading from the shelves and delivering boxes throughout the various departments in the store. By the time I got home around three in the morning, I was ready for a day off!
One of the perks of working in the operations side of management was that I didn’t have to report back to work on the day after Thanksgiving until 3:00 pm. So by the time I got there most of the frenzy of the early morning crowd had curtailed and the majority of the customers were in a good mood and relaxed… most that is! The down side was that by the time I got there, most of the best deals were sold out and my common reply to customers was “I’m sorry, but the item you’re looking for was gone by 7:00 am this morning!”
Most customers would understand, but every-so-often one would become indignant and complain about “bait and switch” tactics! At that point I would try to calmly explain how I had actually helped to put out the merchandise a few days previous to the sale and try and assure them that we had large quantizes of each advertised item. The problem was the amount of people that would begin to gather in the wee hours of the morning and line up from the store entrances and stretch across the rather large parking lot to 71st street in front of the store!
I guess you could say it was like the proverbial saying that “the early bird gets the worm!” In this case it was the strong desire, the planning, diligence and patience of those who braved the elements and actively stood for hours before the store opened at 6:00 am on Black Friday! From what my co-workers who were there at that time would tell me, these early birds were usually quite excited and ready and expectant of loading up their vehicles with a lot of hot sales!
This whole scenario reminds me of Psalm 37:7 where David tells us to “Surrender yourself to the Lord and wait patiently for him. Do not be preoccupied with an evildoer who succeeds in his way when he carries out his schemes.” (God’s Word ©) Just like those smart shoppers who conceded to the fact that they needed to get up early and get in line in order to get the deals they wanted, David tells us believers that we have to concede to the fact that we need to yield our own desires over to Papa God in order to receive the good “deals” we desire from the storehouse of His Word.
An interesting discovery I made this morning concerns the meaning behind the call to “wait patiently for him.” As I stated previously, the opening staff at the store would recount stories of how the crowd lined up across the parking lot were a pretty jovial group. They weren’t just quietly standing around, but were actively talking, joking and having a good time while they waited! These folks were expectantly excited. They had made the effort to get there early and figured that they would enjoy themselves while doing it!
My inquiries into the phrase “wait patiently” showed that the first meaning of that action is “to twist, whirl and to dance!” (Strong’s) In other words, when we are waiting on the Lord it is not to be a quiet, solemn or still experience. It is a time as Paul told a young Timothy in II Timothy 1:6, to stir yourself up! It is an opportunity to rejoice and dance before the Lord in your expectant excitement of God performing His Word for you. (see Jeremiah 1:12)
I once read that the great turn of the century evangelical leader Smith Wigglesworth would dance before the Lord for ten minutes before he stepped out of his bedroom each day! This was a man that was known for the powerful signs and wonders that followed his ministry around the world. If he could do it up to his dying day when in his late eighties, than so can I… How about you? History records that he simply stepped into heaven one day while talking to some fellow ministers when attending the funeral of a friend. He had begun his traveling ministry later in life and from that point lived a full and healthy existence for the glory of God.
That’s the way I want to live my life. Wouldn’t you agree? So get active this Holiday Season! It may mean that you have to step out of your comfort zone, but learn to rejoice and dance before Him no matter what situations you face each day! Carry your joy and expectancy with you wherever you go. Let your joyous and infectious spirit touch and change those around you in your family, your neighborhood, at the store and at your job… and then have the best Christmas ever!
Have a wonderfully blessed, expectant and joyfully dance-before-the-Lord weekend. Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Whom am I expecting to pass my excitement for the Lord to today?”