Ever dreamed of a kiss from your favourite Hollywood star? Back in 1987 a behavioural economist, George Loewenstein, conducted a study where participants were asked how much they'd pay for such an opportunity.
Fascinatingly, people paid more - not to get the kiss immediately - but to receive it in the future. They wanted the chance to wait, to anticipate: three days being the optimum time they wanted to do that.
Turns out hope for the future can vastly increase our well-being in the present. I'm watching this before my eyes, as my two children, aged three and two, eagerly mooch among the exciting array of wrapped items under a tree in our home. They know something good is coming and their joy is verging on uncontrollable.
I tend to wait very differently: irritated in the supermarket queue, growling while in traffic, aching for that resolution to come. Too often I focus more on what I don't have right now than what's coming in the future.
Advent is, in part, a season for waiting. If I brood on the darkness in my world, thunderclouds swiftly gather about my head. If, instead, I meditate on something better, then joy, peace and hope can be mine despite the challenges I face. So let me leave you with something to ponder, a flicker of candlelight in the gloom that might leave you more expectant this Christmas.
"But when this priest (Jesus) had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins (his death), he sat down at the right hand of God and since that time waits for his enemies to be made his footstool."
Jesus is waiting with you: for the moment those enemies of sickness, death, sin and evil are destroyed forever. And the reason we can be confident it'll happen, is that after that death on a cross it transpired three days was just the right amount of time to wait too. After night comes morning; after winter comes spring; after death comes resurrection.
That's something worth waiting for.
Andy Tilsley is a leader at Christchurch London