I missed waiting in line on a cold, dark night. We attended Woodmont Christian Church's Walk Through Bethlehem, a back-in-time experience so realistic that hundreds wait outdoors to enter the city. Perhaps it was the 35-degree weather or the dinnertime hour--we sailed down the empty sidewalk, past the shepherds and their flock of live sheep, past the census takers and into the warmth of the indoor marketplace.
The event amazed us, but I missed the waiting. I missed the journey down the crowded road, the soldiers harassing travellers, the glow of the shepherd's fire on the hill. I missed wondering how much longer it would take us, as Mary and Joseph must have wondered, plodding their way to Bethlehem. Mostly, I missed the time to reflect on the promise of new life ahead.
In our age of instant gratification, we forget that some things are worth waiting for. The Christmas toy a child earns with months of good behavior, the down payment for your first home, a nice car bought completely with cash--all these are pleasures heightened by anticipation. Frugality depends on our ability to postpone, to put off what we cannot afford or push aside what we do not need. In the end, the frugal approach can teach us to prolong our enjoyment. Include frugality in your search for a more meaningful Christmas, and learn to savor the wait.