Encouragement From The Word

Hurry up and wait!

As far as the retail world is concerned, Christmas is “on”.  Today, after all, marks one month until Christmas, and this year is also “Black Friday”.  A term coined in the US for the day after American Thanksgiving, it’s deemed to be the day of brisk sales that moves a retail establishment from the ‘red’ to the ‘black’.  It’s sort of the American equivalent to our Boxing Day, but on the other side of Christmas.

Many radio stations are playing Christmas music, and though we have no snow on the ground (at least where I live), there is a sense that the season is upon us.

However, the waiting has just begun.

This Sunday commences the season in the Christian year known as “Advent”.  The word simply means “coming”, and it’s a four-week season wherein we await the birth – and the return – of Jesus the Messiah.  It’s a season of waiting.  There’s a song that is sung in Advent that goes like this:

All earth is waiting to see the Promised One,
And open furrows await the seed of God.
All the world, bound and struggling, seeks true liberty;
It cries out for justice and searches for the truth.

“All earth is waiting.”  It doesn’t seem like that, does it?  No, it seems as if nobody’s interested in waiting, only in getting on with it.  But if you’ve ever been a parent – especially a mom – you know that giving birth involves quite a lot of waiting…not less than nine months of it, normally.

Personally, I enjoy the waiting that’s involved in Advent.  There’s a sense of anticipation.  When I was a kid, the anticipation was trying to guess what was in the beautifully-wrapped gift boxes under the Christmas tree.  Now, though, the anticipation has more to do with, ‘What new thing will God do this year?’

Year after year, it never fails to amaze me that God does great and amazing things through this season, culminating on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  As God’s people gather to worship, bringing their friends along, the Spirit speaks in ways beyond what we can understand.  That never gets old.  And it’s what I wait for as I prepare for the birth of the Saviour.

You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.  He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.  And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” (Luke 1.31-33, NLT).

What are you waiting for?

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