While quite spectacular and undeniably jaw-dropping, the San Diego fireworks display of 2012 was considered a mistake. It was a disappointment and an “oops” of epic proportions. But why? Why wasn’t it considered breathtaking, beautiful, or magnificently perfect?
Because it was too much, too fast. It was a rare moment in time when a majority of Americans agreed that perhaps instant gratification wasn’t the best idea.
So it is during this season of Advent. I’ve been enjoying putting up a few decorations at a time. Each light illuminated and each garland hung brings a fresh tingle of excitement and a building of anticipation. By taking our time with Christmas decorations and traditions, our family has been able to focus on the many other feast days that dot the calendar this time of year. St. Nicholas, the Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Lucy, and Guadete Sunday are a few. And as each passes by, we continue the slow crescendo to the moment we’re all waiting for–the moment of Christ’s birth.
Classical music enthusiasts are familiar with Ravel’s famous work, Bolero. A tune is repeated, over and over again, by different instruments of the orchestra. Adding layers upon layers of musicians, the volume gradually increases until blasting brass and furiously sawing strings seem to lift the roof of the concert hall with excitement. The piece is a masterful crescendo, and it tells the story of the way we were created to live.
It’s written into our very bodies. An athlete doesn’t sprint to a gold medal win without first warming up. An opera singer doesn’t bring an audience to their feet at the end of an opera without first gently flexing her vocal chords. Even the design for marriage is built around anticipating and waiting for the fullness of the marital embrace.
So don’t put up your tree quite yet. Don’t get out the best cookies until Christmas Eve. Finish decorating just a few days before Christmas. Or find some other way to live the crescendo of life in your home. Your children will absorb this. They’ll learn to wait and to delay gratification. They’ll learn that it’s worth it. And they’ll learn to not give in to despair as they live the knowledge that the best is yet to come.