I got my wisdom teeth out a few days before Christmas. Crazy right? Who wants to spend one of the most joyful holidays of the year in bed and eating mush, while everyone else is out celebrating (and eating) with friends and family. Yep, I spent one of the most tasteful holidays eating chicken noodle soup and applesauce instead of our family tradition of appetizers on Christmas Eve and cream-chip beef on Christmas morning (they don’t sound appetizing – spoiler alert, they are).

Waiting is something that I’m so bad at. I always drive in the fast lane, measuring my progress by how many cars I pass on the way whatever destination I’m going to. I get an unusual amount of satisfaction when I can beat the estimated arrival time on my GPS. I don’t wait in lines. Not only do I not enjoy it, I avoid it at all costs. The hardest time for me to wait is when I know that something is coming. I want the thing that I’m waiting on right here, right now.

God has promised Israel a savior, promised them redemption. But it doesn’t happen immediately. Israel lives through years of being captured, their land being devastated, serving foreign kings. Hundreds of years. Gosh, I can’t imagine how hard that must’ve been. I think I would’ve given up after disappointment came again and again. Watching my friends and family be torn apart, banished from our homes, with no end in sight. It must’ve been so discouraging. I’m sure it would’ve been so easy for them to forget about the promise of a savior, the promise of redemption.

For me, December was a month of waiting. And what I found is that waiting is hard (insightful, I know). The funny thing is that I found a lot of joy in the waiting this past Christmas season. I enjoyed the anticipation and excitement of what was to come (Christmas, Jesus’s birth, getting to go home and rest), while trying to stay aware of what was going around me in the present. That’s where the wisdom teeth surgery came in. Because I looked like a chipmunk and my face was in a massive amount of pain (not to mention the normal need for recoup after surgery), I couldn’t run around visiting with friends or going to holiday parties. I was forced to slow down and be still. That’s where I found that wisdom teeth surgery and Christmas have something in common: the waiting. This Christmas, I was waiting on healing, physically and emotionally. I found that waiting is about awareness, really seeing the things around me instead of rushing through my day. Waiting is a process, it takes time and doesn't happen all at once. Waiting isn’t something that comes naturally, it’s an active choice. But I think the sweetest thing that I found was the joy and the living in the waiting. This Christmas was my favorite one yet. Because I was forced to be homebound, to slowdown and wait, my family found ways to care for me that were extremely unexpected. Playing my favorite game over and over, watching a movie with me in my room when I was in too much pain to get out of bed, going out of their way to make special food that they knew that I could eat. It was unexpected and honestly wouldn’t have been the same without the surgery.

What I do know is that Christmas came, Jesus was born, and my mouth healed. The wait was over. I can hold onto the promise that the Israelites’ (and my) savior came and that I will never have to worry about my wisdom teeth misaligning my teeth again. I look back at the Christmas season and see that though the end result was awesome, the waiting was a special time in and of itself. 

So, thanks wisdom teeth surgery.