Waiting is hard. We either knowfor what we are waiting and are excited for it to come, or we might be waiting for a dreaded outcome and wish it would never come. Sometimes we are waiting for an unknown answer or outcome and we don’t know how it will turn out. Whatever it is, waiting is hard. If you haven’t noticed, most of the country has already started the Christmas party: who would want to wait on a good thing like Christmas?! We all know December 25th is coming and we are so very excited for it to arrive, so we might as well start celebrating!
As Christians, we know that Christmas is more than presents, lights, and parties. We live a very real, present truth that Jesus has come as King to rule on the Throne of Heaven forever, and bring us sure hope, overflowing joy, eternal peace, and true love. We live under the reign of The Kingdom that has come, that is growing and restoring the world, person by person, as we wait for Jesus’ second return when all sin and sorrow will vanish forever.However, we also live in the “already not yet.”We still live with the very real brokenness and consequences of sin, in ourselves, with each other, and in the world around us.
The season of Advent that begins today, is a season of quiet, of waiting, of watching, for the final whole restoration that God has promised to complete. Advent is a time to ponder what it means to wait on God. We see in Scripture that prior to Jesus’ arrival, the Israelites were waiting to hear from God for hundreds of years. We sing the well known hymn:
“O come, O come, Immanuel, and ransom captive Israel that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.”
We embrace what it would have meant to know that God speaks, but to be living through a period of silence, not knowing when the silence would end. Consider today’s story of Abraham and Issac and how long Abraham And Sarah waited for a son. Consider then what it would have been like to be asked to lay that long awaited son on a sacrificial altar, and then to wait and see if God would spare him. As Abraham ascended the mountain where he was to lay down his son’s life he must have been remembering what God had said in Genesis 17, that He would establish His covenant through Issac. In the midst of this contradiction of what God had promised and then asked of Abraham, Abraham faithfully and obediently climbed that mountain anyways. We read then that God did provide a ram for the altar, and spared Issac’s life. Where death was certain, God had a plan and provided a substitute! Sound familiar? This Advent season, where we celebrate the arrival of God’s greatest provision Jesus, let us celebrate: but let us first feel the heaviness of what it means to wait for God, having faith that He does, and will provide. Waiting is hard.
My prayer is that as a Church, in whatever ways we might be waiting on the Lord to provide, that we would grow in humility and trust in Jesus, our great provider. Might we remember that the Christmas story teaches us that God will provide in ways that we might not expect, and that His plan is always better than what we could have expected. As Abraham did, let us cling to faith, remembering what God has said to us, and journey forward with a God who provides and burns our sins and weights and our fears at the altar and allows to joyfully celebrate life in His Son.
Adult: List the heavy things that you might be carrying with you this season. Ask the Lord the grow your faith to see Him provide for you this Advent season.
Youth: Instead of making a Christmas list just yet, make a list of gifts that God has provided you already. Think about displaying this list of provisions in your home as you decorate
The first week of Advent lectionary Scriptures
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
1 Corinthians 1:3-9