“And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of teh Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son I her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” (Luke 1: 35-37 NKJV)
It is Christmas Eve. One more sleep and then Christmas is here. The air is electrified with excitement. Anticipation. Celebration. World-wide people celebrating the birth of a baby. Each culture slightly different.
In our house the excitement is building. Presents have appeared under the tree at the fireplace. The advent ornaments are just about finished, just two left. The stockings have disappeared. Time seems to creep slowly by.
While we are not near family, I know that family is gathering and spending time together. Eating. Talking. Playing games. Watching movies. Laughing.
Today our family will put together the gingerbread train. Attend the Christmas Eve service. Laugh. Eat. Spend time together. Christmas music playing through out the house. Look at the Christmas lights as we drive tonight.
Since we live after the event of Jesus birth we have an advantage that Mary and Joseph didn’t have at that time, we can read the entire story in a matter of moments. Reading through the account of events in the book of Luke today. You read of people who had to wait. Some of them could see the evidence of what God was doing, like Elizabeth and Zacharias (the parents of John the Baptist) or Mary and Joseph. Others just had hope of a promise to them. Such as Simeon in the temple.
In part because our culture is filled with instant responses the concept of waiting is not an easy one. The anticipation of Christmas mounts and builds. For children its the presents under the tree. For parents its watching their kids faces as they open their presents. Its also a time of year when people pause and reflect on what has been and what is possibly to come. Its a time of year where we anticipate and find ourselves hopeful for miracles. A new job. Health restored. Family reunited. Peace. We anticipate and almost sense that there is a power at work around us that could take all the “downs” and make them “ups”.
It took 9 months before Jesus was born, and that was after years of anticipating God moving and sending Jesus to earth. I wonder what it was like for Mary as she anticipated the birth of Jesus. She went to see her cousin Elizabeth for the first part of her pregnancy. I don’t think it was an accident, I would imagine it was a time of encouragement for her. Both her and Elizabeth had been blessed with miracles, both sons were part of the greatest event to happen on earth – the coming of the savior. One would prepare the way for Jesus, and the other was Jesus.
The other day we were working on our Jesse tree ornament and talking through the various stories of the Bible we had read about. I realized as we were talking that without faith one has trouble believing in the virgin birth; there is no other way to believe it. Growing up hearing the story its not something I have stopped to think about much. As we were talking the other piece that emerged was that no matter what you believe, this event in history; the birth of Jesus is a pivotal part of the world’s history. Our calendar is set in a new direction (count of years) back to the birth of Jesus. Culture may try and word it otherwise but it is set to the birth of Jesus. It is 2014 because of the birth of Jesus.
Are you in a season of waiting right now?
Waiting for God to give direction.
Waiting for God to heal.
Waiting for God to mend a broken heart.
Waiting for an answered prayer.
This year is a year of waiting for me. As I read the Christmas story I am reminded to be patient, to trust and to not rush the waiting. Each moment. Each step is important to the story God is writing. Joy in each moment.
The answer to your and my prayers, desires, and hopes God alone knows how it will be answered and when it will be answered. I do know and believe this with all my heart though – the time of waiting we find ourselves in is good for us IF we choose to trust and believe God. We grow. We learn. We have a chance to pray and seek Jesus as never before. Our faith is strengthened. Our reliance continues to be more and more on God. Like Mary and all the other people in the Christmas story who did not know what time would bring, we don’t know what will come or what our story will bring but God does. Believe. Trust. Rest in Christmas Hope – in one person, the person of Jesus.
“Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Luke 1:45 NKJV
~ Merry Christmas ~
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copy right 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc. Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All Rights Reserved.