But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. Micah 7:7
Wait! That’s almost a curse word in our day. In fact, we’ll do almost anything to avoid it. I’ve driven ten minutes out of my way, so I don’t have to sit for five minutes at the railroad crossing waiting for the train to pass. Somehow, because I’m moving, it feels like I’m getting somewhere faster. And based on the number of cars that turn around with me, I know I’m not alone in this.
So, what do we do with Advent? A season that encourages us to sit in the waiting; to reflect on feelings of longing and expectation – feelings we find irritating and foreign to us.
If we’re honest, I think most of us do exactly what culture tells us to – we skip the waiting and rush straight into celebrating. You don’t have to look far to see this. Walk into any store the day after Halloween and you’ll see Evergreen trees adorned with decorations, colorful lights strung from the ceiling, and festive carols ringing through the speakers.
I’m not saying this is bad in and of itself, but I am saying this tendency we have to take hold of the Gift before reflecting on why it’s been given or even by Whom it’s been given, requires more intentionality.
I remember Christmas’ and birthdays as a kid. My parents painstakingly made us open and read each card out loud before we could open the gift. Why? Because the gift takes on more meaning and significance when you know who it’s from and the thought and care they’ve taken to buy it, wrap it, and attach a loving card written specifically to the receiver.
When we lose sight of the true meaning of Salvation, when we don’t stop to consider what we’ve been saved from, it’s like unwrapping a gift and tossing the card without even reading it. In our Grinch-like pursuit of what’s in it for us, we forget the Giver entirely. But Advent is about pausing; reflecting; and remembering that we’ve been given an incredible Gift by a gracious and loving Father.
We were dead. Without a future. Without hope. But God! In Him we have life, a future, a hope. This is what we celebrate during Advent.
In Genesis 3, God promised a Seed would come from Eve who would crush the serpent’s head and bring freedom to all. And for 4000 years, a faithful remnant in the Israelite nation watched and waited for this expected King.
We live on this side of the fulfillment. The Messiah came as an infant-King, born in a lowly manger one still starry night. But we still wait. We wait for our Messiah and risen King to return in all His glory, just like He’s promised. So, just like the Israelites, we look ahead with hope for the day when Christ will reign on David’s throne…establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness (Isaiah 9:7); when God will dwell with his people and be their God (Revelation 21:3); and when every tear is wiped from our eyes and death and mourning is no more (Revelation 21:4).
You see, true Christian hope isn’t about wishing for something specific to happen. It’s rooted and grounded in what has already happened; in what is promised; and in what is yet to come. It’s about trusting that God will do what He says. Trusting He will be faithful no matter our circumstances. Trusting He is good and His purposes will never be thwarted.
So, rest in this hope this Advent season. Wait in glorious expectation for what is to come. And then, rejoice in Christ and the gift of life He has given to each of us who will believe.