Waiting for Christmas   2 comments

Historical time frames in the Bible move so slowly that if we lived through those daily events, we’d notice no real progress except in rare moments of change.  Abram is promised a large family.  He must imagine spending his life watching the birth and growth of each child, raising them into men and women, and playing with his grandchildren.  Instead he spends his whole life waiting, childless, and at the very end, when he is an old man, he gets one son.  Israel is promised a new land, but that whole generation slowly drops dead one by one as they drag their tents through the desert over decades of splintered dreams.  Only their children see the promise fulfilled. “All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” (Heb. 11:13)

For hundreds of years Israelis waited for the Messiah, passing their sometimes-wavering expectation on to their offspring.  They waited, grew old waiting, died waiting, as did their children after them.  The Old Testament is one long book of waiting.  And then he comes… only to leave his people once more with a promise.  Christmas, like communion, is a memorial of remembrance until he comes again.

It seems that faith is given to us less as a means to gain a promise and more as the strength to wait for the promise.  Daily grace is more about sustenance in the famine than the bounty that will one day come.  Our faith is not measured by how much blessing we enjoy, but by how much faithful endurance we keep without receiving the promised blessing. It is drought, not abundance, that drives roots deep into the earth where they tap into the true, undying water source and build an unshakeable foundation.  Grace refuses to settle for the short-lived, easy gains that we so often wish for and rather calls us to the hard road of long-term transformation, the kind of change that radically reshapes who we are.

So our patience is not passive and acquiescent, like a doctor’s waiting room, but active and willful.  “Prepare the way of the Lord.”  Those hills and valleys that need to be straightened are not the landscape of the world, but the topography of our own hearts.  He has not come (or we have not gone) because we are not yet ready for him.  When a bush pilot flies into the jungle to deliver supplies only to find no landing strip, his coming brings no benefit.    So let us be active participants in his grace, yielding our hearts for the Spirit to clear the brush and fill the holes, preparing for our coming King.  Waiting is one of the greatest acts of faith, determination, and diligence.




Posted December 22, 2016 by janathangrace in Uncategorized

2 responses to “Waiting for Christmas

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  1. Thanks for sharing. A good reminder. I have been meditating on Charles Wesley’s “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus” these days, and the theme of waiting has been on my heart. Listening to the hymn, I was challenged that sometimes I am waiting for the wrong things. Your thoughtful writings encouraged me to consider how to prepare my own heart, in an active way, in the midst of waiting.

    • Waiting is one of the hardest, most faith-challenging things I am faced with in life. I am so much better at doing. But it seems that doing is what was my undoing. Each of our journeys so uniquely unfolds, but are still so deeply comparable. Thanks for commenting.

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