for as long as i can remember, the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping always involved a father-daughter lunch stop at johnny rockets. this was never a grab-and-go situation, only a counter seat would do. right in the action. with perfect placement for making our jukebox selections. we would wait for two red plastic stools to vacate and then we would plop ourselves down with all of our shopping bags. two chocolate shakes. an order of fries. burgers. and a dollar's worth of nickles. we ate our food, discussed Christmas plans, caught up on random life things, and waited...hoping for our song selections to be played before we finished eating. i can probably count on one hand the amount of times that we actually heard our choices...but that didn't slow us down. A7. B2. G1. oh, oh, E3. we waited and hoped. most times, we left without hearing our songs. and a time or two, the song came on as we were leaving. and so, we stood to the side to enjoy the moment. because, let me tell you...when we did hear a song, it was a big deal. those cheesy old classics will never sound as good as they do playing on those muffled speakers while Christmas music is being piped into the mall overhead with the din of the masses all around us.
it had been a year or two since we went to johnny rockets. there had been travels and moves. new homes. new businesses. new food preferences. new lessons. new trials. new joys. new family members. a new baby. new roles. new seasons. life was busy doing what it does. things had changed. we had changed. but some things stay the same.
that burger may not be grass-fed or plant-based. those fries may not be fried in duck fat and sprinkled with truffles. that shake may not use hormone free dairy and gourmet add-ins. but you know what? it will always taste good to me. the anticipation and the tradition of it all gave more quality and flavor than any fine ingredient procurement or preparation ever could.
leave it to a burger joint to be a beautiful reminder of what the advent season is all about. it is all about the anticipation. the traditions. waiting. hoping. the little reminders and moments that fill your heart with childlike joy. but unlike that faulty jukebox and questionable burgers...we will never be disappointed by our Immanuel. He came. He is with us. He is coming again. a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.