As the 102nd float inched by, followed by a team of horses and a man carrying a pitchfork and pail, my eyes continued their rolling motion toward the back of my skull. A dance school then passed by, then a company promoting its pumping prowess, then another marching band, then a float with a blown loud speaker blaring 'Frosty the Snowman'. 'End it already' I quietly wished - not wanting my wife (who has not missed a Christmas Parade in her life except one) to hear me! So, not being blessed with vertical length i.e. height, I casually stood as tall as possible trying to see where this parade would come to its merciful end! But, experience has told me that if I wait long enough I'll catch a glimpse of the end of this parade signified by a man known as Santa Claus. He'll shout 'Ho-Ho-Ho'. We'll wave. Kids will cheer. Then we'll walk briskly to the car and wait another 364 days to repeat this torturous pilgrimage. This is how it will end. Trust me.
Just like I thought it would happen. The anticipation was palpable. Tension was thick as the Burlington Young Red Coats inched forward. That's always the clue. Could it be true? Is he here? Can't wait...can't wait to walk home! Ah, there's the jolly man. Phew. It's over. I survived another Christmas parade. Can't...wait...til...next...year...
My view on Christmas parades must be in the minority because I think all of Southern Ontario was crammed into Waterdown's Victorian Village last night. Dutifully and very orderly, parade enthusiasts set their chairs up on reserved pieces of Main Street's real estate during the wee hours of the morning and afternoon. Pick up trucks and semi enclosed trailers, hot chocolate stands and popcorn carts all waiting for the action. Crowd barricades and car barriers set up to ensure public safety. Not a stone unturned in anticipation of the event. If you didn't know any better, you'd think someone REALLY important was coming to town.
I'm not totally anti-parades and I suppose I could refuse to go . I have watched 19 of them. (Yes, I'm counting!) Honestly, I did come away with something. While I was searching for some meaning to this yearly trek I noticed that on the back of the Youth for Christ/Youth Unlimited float there was a banner that read, "We see the hope and potential of every young person." And there it was. That's what's going on. It was about hope. There was anticipation in the crowd. For most parade goers there was hope that Santa would appear. There was certainty that he would be part of the grand finale. And, they didn't leave disappointed.
Walking back to the car, I thought of the crowd's hope and anticipation to see Santa. I thought what if Jesus was at the end of the parade. Would we line the streets four or five people deep? Would we put out our chairs at 7AM in the morning? Would we race through town hoping to get a good parking spot? Would we put on flashing lights and sell candy floss in hope, in anticipation?
Is that how I actively hope for and anticipate Jesus' return?
Now, where did we park the car?