Waiting. We’re terrible at it, aren’t we? We don’t like to wait for anything. What used to take forty-five minutes to bake can now be microwaved in two minutes. We want our internet fast and our shows on demand. I even thought about upgrading to a newer Keurig that can brew a cup of coffee in one minute because my older model takes three minutes. Three whole minutes?!? Ain’t nobody got time for that!
However, Scripture teaches that believers are continually waiting: “But we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (Romans 8:23-25).
Throughout history, Christians have referred to the time leading up to Christmas as ‘Advent.’ The word advent simply means “coming” or “arrival.” This is a special time where believers focus on the coming of Christ by looking back at His first coming while also waiting in anticipation for His second coming. It’s a season where we remind ourselves that we are waiting.
We are waiting because we’re not home; we are strangers and pilgrims here. Throughout our busy lives we often forget this, but then we see the news report of another shooting and we feel that sting in our gut that reminds us this isn’t our home. We see humans hating and killing each other and we are reminded that this world is cursed by sin…and we long for home. We groan as we glimpse into our own heart and still see the desires of the flesh that wage war against God, and we long to go where sin no longer dwells.
But, we have hope because of the first advent (coming) of Christ. Long ago, in the obscure town of Bethlehem, Hope entered the world. Or, as it’s stated in one of my favorite Christmas songs:
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth;
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!
A new and glorious morn! Hope for the sinner accomplished through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ! God Himself put on flesh, dwelt among us, and defeated the power of sin and death. In the first coming of Christ we see the power of God, His ability to keep His promises, and the price God was willing to pay to accomplish salvation for His people.
However, we don’t just look back. We look forward to the second advent when Christ returns for His bride. The redeemed groan inwardly with a longing to be with Christ. We long to be where there is no more suffering, no more sin, and no more death. We are waiting with anticipation.
Preparing Our Hearts This Christmas Season
Leading up to Christmas can be an extremely busy time. We have Christmas parties to attend, trips to plan, and presents to buy. It’s easy for December to fly by without taking much time to focus our hearts on Christ. Amongst all the busyness…let us not forget to behold Christ our Lord! As we shop, let us praise God for His provision. As we attend parties, let us thank God we have a reason to celebrate! And, above all, let us thank God that on that silent night, He sent His Son into this weary and cursed world to overcome the darkness.
Take time this season to rejoice in what Christ has done. Remind yourself and your children that we are waiting, anticipating, and longing for our coming King!
Advent devotionals can be a useful tool to keep our focus on Christ this holiday season. Here are links to some helpful devotionals:
- Come, Let us Adore Him– a book of daily readings for the month of December.
- Prepare Him Room– this is a family devotional that provides Scripture to read and discuss, a song to sing together, and a family activity. This is a great resource for anyone, especially if you have children (we have copies at the church; let us know if interested).
- Good News of Great Joy– a free daily devotional
- Behold, The Lamb of God– “Drawing from the hallowed pages of Scripture and with an eye toward both wonder and ground-level detail, Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative brings to life the people, the places, and the earth-shaking significance of the greatest story ever told-the true tall tale of the coming of Christ.”
- The Dawning of Indestructible Joy– another free daily devotional
- The Expected One: Anticipating All of Jesus in the Advent– “Through this devotional, Scott James brings to light the many promises of Christ―from birth to ascension―that demonstrate His love for us during this Christmas season.”
“Oh come all ye faithful… Come and behold Him, Born the King of angels; Oh come let us adore Him, Oh Come let us adore Him, Oh come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!”