Advent: the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. Hope: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. We hope and wait for a lot of things. We hope today is better than tomorrow. We hope our favorite team will win the game. We hope we get what we’ve been hinting at for Christmas- we hope to be noticed by that certain someone – or we hope no one notices us- All sorts of things and events are hoped for. Timex took a survey in September of 2012 on how Americans spend their time- and how much of the time is spent on waiting.
Here are 11 things we hate waiting for — and how long the average person will wait for those things before we take action.
Christmas didn’t make the list- but it seems to be a difficult one to wait for. The stores are in such a rush that the Halloween candy was barely put away before the Christmas candy and decorations were out. Thanksgiving is only remembered by sales on Turkey and stuffing in the grocery stores. I do love Christmas- but as you and I get older it seems like it gets here faster and faster- not slower. How about you? Are you one of those that had your decorations up before Thanksgiving? Be honest… There were several people putting the pictures of their trees on Facebook last week already. I must admit the thought did cross my mind to begin to haul out the Christmas decoration from the basement. (But I waited until yesterday!)
The dynamic of waiting is what set up the first Christmas over 2000 years ago.
Micah wrote that He would be born in Bethlehem, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Micah 5:2. There are hundreds of prophecies about the Messiah in the Old Testament: “He is coming!”
Between the time in the Old Testament and the New Testament there were 400 silent years before Jesus Christ was born. During this time, many people gave up waiting. Waiting 400 years for the Messiah to arrive on the scene seems like a long time- and losing hope- and forgetting about Him would be easy to do. Maybe you’ve had times where God seems quiet and inactive that you’ve wondered – why am I doing this? Why am I serving, giving, believing? He is taking too long- maybe I misunderstood- maybe he isn’t going to come through after all. Been there? I think we all have.
2. The WAITING: In Luke chapter 1, the stage is set. The first 4 verses are an introduction. The writer, Luke- a physician by trade, has decided that there should be a thorough record of the life of Jesus Christ. He wants to present a well-documented and accurate account of the life of Jesus Christ. He is acting as a reporter; he investigates and reports and then writes his findings.
Luke’s account begins at the beginning- rather it begins before the beginning of Jesus birth with the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth. We are introduced to Zachariah and Elizabeth, two righteous believers. They were being faithful even though God hadn’t answered their most heartfelt prayer. God seemed silent and distant. They had been praying for a child (verse 13) their entire married life and yet God hadn’t answered their prayers.
“For many people, being childless not by choice is a trigger for mental health. . .. The women who yearned to be mothers, the men who dreamed of being daddies and watch their kids play football or walk their daughters down the aisle are all experiencing grief. They feel like their prayers aren’t heard.
3.The HOPE: Zechariah sees and hears an angel! Don’t miss the significance of this supernatural event! For 400 years, there had been no prophecies, dreams, visions, angels, or heavenly experiences of any kind and now Zechariah sees an angel- an angel with a message! The angel said, “Your prayer is heard.” Isn’t that awesome? I would like to hear that sometime! What if God just whispered that to you – that would be enough, wouldn’t it?
This is how the whole Christmas story begins – before Jesus, there was John the Baptist. John’s job was to bring people back to God. To help people regain their hope- to prepare their hearts to believe. Without hope – we won’t recognize the answers to our prayers.
God calls us to hope. “He has given us both his promise and his oath, two things we can completely count on, for it is impossible for God to tell a lie. . . .This certain hope of being saved is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls, connecting- us with God himself behind the sacred curtains of heaven,” Hebrews 6:18-19. We have the certain hope that God is for us, He loves us, He has a plan, and He will be with us- we can trust Him- because He never lies!
We may not understand or know the timing of all His promises- but we know Him. When you begin to doubt, when you think God has forgotten- hang on- check the chains on the anchor – they are holding. Trust Him… Wait on Him. You are not forgotten. His promises always come true!
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