I love Christmas. Growing up, I remember that moment that every kid (and many adults) wait for. I remember waking up in the mornings, having waited patiently, I thought, for that golden moment when we all got to open presents! Christmas movies are all over our screens and every writer for every TV series has been hard at work to create the ultimate Christmas entertainment for our enjoyment.
I love the storybook aspect of the Christmas morning. Every year on our televisions, we watch small children in all their cute glory run down the stairs with an excitement that only comes with Christmas morning. The parents are comfily sipping warm coffee as the unrealistically blissful family enjoys a perfect morning filled with hugs, kisses, and gifts.
In this current context families live further and further apart. We travel all over the town, state, and even our nation to spend an afternoon, a couple of days, perhaps a week with family to celebrate Christmas. Any of you who have been in a family (the writer sarcastically stated) know that family is messy, scheduling never goes how it’s supposed to, Christmas trees are beautiful…but the electric bill isn’t, and then there’s always that one light that turns the entire strand of lights into utter garbage. And kids…the kids are asking about opening presents continually that whole week before it’s time.
Children do not understand what it looks like to wait patiently. In fact, in our fast food, express lane, drive thru, Cyber Monday world adults don’t really get it either. Tesla just announced the fastest consumer car ever made. The new iPhone X has the quickest setup they’ve ever put in a phone. We have 4G LTE connectivity, home internet that doesn’t sound like a fax machine anymore, pressure cookers, and microwaves. When we are looking forward to an event we say, “I can’t wait!!”
There’s nothing new under the sun.
God’s people, Israel, had been waiting for literally thousands of years for their king. They cried out the same sentiment for generations. Their longings for the coming of Jesus were felt and took more patience than you or I can even imagine in our fast paced world.
“O come, O come, Emmanuel And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appears.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free Thine own from Satan’s tyranny From depths of Hell Thy people save And give them victory o’er the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.”
All they had to go on were generational stories that pointed to Messiah, prophecies of their coming king, and belief and trust in that Yahweh keeps his promises. Isaiah said the Messiah would be born of a virgin (7:14) which is a miracle of epic proportions. The prophet also said this Savior would descend from the line of King David (chapter 11); a prophecy that seemed out of touch and distant in their world of submission to Rome, when the glory days of Israel’s Kingdom were a distant memory.
But then it happened! This faint hope in long ago prophecies and stories handed down through the generations was finally realized. I love the way John puts it.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.10The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016. Print.
For whatever reason the wording used just leaves a feeling that John was saying, “The one we’ve been waiting on; our Messiah; the light of the world; HE WAS FINALLY COMING INTO THIS WORLD”.
That God keeps his promises, never changes, and can be trusted is our hope still today. Just as Israel waited on their Forever King to arrive for centuries, we wait for this same King to come back and restore all things back to himself. And just as God didn’t lie but came through delivering the long awaited Messiah in Bethlehem, you and I can trust without doubt that he will indeed return and restore ALL of creation to its intended beauty and peace.
“For the believer there is hope beyond the grave, because Jesus Christ has opened the door to heaven for us by His death and resurrection.”
Jesus is our hope. And we can believe in him. Jesus can be trusted. Now hope in him as we celebrate his past coming and await his glorious second advent.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016. Print.