Editor’s Note: Missioner Patrick Montine reflects on the great joy he experienced when his family came to Jamaica to visit him during Christmas. Through this joy and the anticipation that preceded it, Patrick came to deeper realizations about the nature of anticipation and its connection to our relationship with God.

Happy New Year everybody.

I was able to celebrate Christmas with my family in Jamaica this year. They came all the way from Seattle, Washington. This is a long journey in itself, but they were delayed by five hours due to thunderstorms in Atlanta. They made it to Jamaica late on Christmas Eve. We went to Negril, Jamaica, and spent most of our time at the beach at the Boardwalk Village. We all agreed that it would be a Christmas to remember.

Patrick with his family

Patrick with his family

The part that stood out to me the most was the anticipation. We had planned this visit back in July. I booked everything way in advance because the closer to tourist season it gets, the harder it is to get rooms. So starting in July, everyone was counting down the days until they arrived. It was just like the Advent Season where we join the Hebrews of the Old Testament in their anticipation of  the Messiah’s arrival.

During Advent, the anticipation builds more and more the closer we get to  Christmas. I understood that feeling very well while I was waiting for my family to come out of the airport. In these moments, I was exploding with anticipation. I stood behind the barrier and looked  for any sign of them. When I finally saw them, I exploded with joy. That is what we celebrate during the 12 days of Christmas, that joy that Christ our Messiah has come into the world. He became man to save the world. He came as a little baby, but he is the perfect Christmas gift.

Sadly, my family eventually had to return to their lives in Seattle. They were only here for a short time, but when I dropped them off at the airport, I knew in my heart of hearts that I would see them again before I knew it.  My time with them showed me that although there is great sadness in saying goodbye, there is a great peace in the knowledge that this anticipation and joy will occur again.

That is exactly what we experience with Jesus. He came into the world very quietly, but with great joy. In the end, He died for us and brought us salvation from death. So, when we finally leave this world, we will see Jesus and all those who have gone before us. That truth fills me with great joy.

Reflection Question: During times of impatience, how can you remind yourself that periods of anticipation can sometimes be one of the greatest blessings?