Written by Deb del Villar, Director of Communications
As I contemplate this Christmas season, my mind seems to continually go back to the word “waiting.”
From Genesis 3, following the fall of man, until Luke 1:26, the Israelite nation had been waiting. They were waiting for the Savior that God said would come and deliver them.
Prophets spoke of a child being born, a son who would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. He would uphold His kingdom with justice and righteousness forevermore.
Scriptures tell us that this ruler would come from Bethlehem. Year after year, decade after decade, birth after birth, the Israel nation waited.
Then finally, the time that had been foretold was unfolding right before Mary’s eyes. An angel appeared with good, but frightening, hard-to-believe, miraculous news. Mary was chosen to give birth to this long-awaited One.
After more waiting, “the time came…” and God became flesh – a baby boy wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” [Galatians 4:4]
There was so much waiting until the acceptable, appointed time of God came, and come it did. Nothing has ever been the same since!
Maybe this past year has been a season of waiting for you and your family. Even now you may be waiting for something. It could be due to financial, health, relationship, or spiritual trials or tribulations. Waiting is so difficult!
Often, the sense is that nothing is happening during the waiting. It is a wasted, unprofitable time.
May I encourage you to focus instead on God and what is He doing behind the scenes? God is always right on time!
So, whether you are waiting for much-needed financial relief, health news, a broken relationship to be restored, or to feel the vibrancy of your closeness to Jesus again, may we wait expectantly, patiently, and faithfully.
Waiting expectantly means you look forward, knowing that God is working. You cling to the hope found in the promises of His Word, anticipating their fulfillment. You look down the road like the Father in the parable of the prodigal, ever watchful and ready to welcome and celebrate. You are pregnant with hope.
You ordered packages and now wait expectantly for them to arrive. You sent out invitations to a party and guests responded they are coming. Now, all you need to do is wait for them to arrive at the appointed time.
As the Israel nation waited for the promised deliverer and looked for His arrival with great anticipation, so we too look to the future with hope. You have prayed and done all you can, now you wait with hope and expectation for the answer, the fulfillment.
As grandparents, we also wait expectantly, for “the blessed hope, and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” [Titus 2:13]
Just as Israel looked for the first coming, we look for His second coming.
Because of this certainty, we share our faith with the desire that our family goes with us to heaven for all eternity. We live our lives knowing today could be the day Jesus returns. Therefore, we live expectantly, all the while interceding for each family member.
Waiting is hard enough, but add in the word “patiently” and it goes to an entirely different level.
Think back to Christmas morning when you were a child. How patiently did you wait? One of our Christmas morning traditions was that we had to wait on the stairs leading down to the living room until Dad was up. It was torture because we could see our bulging stockings hanging from the fireplace. Many a time, we tiptoed over to the fireplace to sneak a peek but never to touch. We were also supposed to be quiet so Dad woke when he was ready. We began this ritual well, but soon our five voices got louder and louder with excitement. Waiting patiently was not easy then.
Today, waiting patiently is not easy either. It could be because most waiting is connected to a crisis now: waiting for those blood or biopsy results to come back, waiting for an adult child to reconcile, waiting for a grandson who has wandered from the truth to come back to his childhood faith, or waiting for a broken relationship to be restored.
Yet not all waiting is due to hardship. Maybe you are waiting for the next visit with your grandchildren. You have prepared your home and cannot wait for them to arrive. Or maybe you are waiting at an airport to go see them. It could be waiting for the timer on the cookies, pies, or turkey to go off, signaling it is time.
Similarly, God has an appointed, acceptable time for the work He is doing. Maybe focusing on this truth will allow you to patiently wait.
Hustle and bustle of the Christmas season can lead to short tempers and frayed nerves. Show lots of grace in all your relationships and encounters – your grandchildren will notice. As my mom would often say, “give people the benefit of doubt.” In other words, expect the best from one another.
The final step is to wait faithfully, trusting, depending, and placing our full confidence in our God. Our example and words serve as a model for our families. We know God is the same today as He was in the past and will be in the future. He can be counted on!
We wait faithfully by living out our Christian faith and knowing that God is working all things out for His glory and our good.
When the fullness of time has come, God will answer. So, serve while you wait. Love while you wait. Pray while you wait. Trust God while you wait. Share your faith while you wait. Record your journey with God while you wait.
Granted, some waiting is easier than others. Mary thought the fulfillment of the long-awaited promise was hard to believe, yet she trusted God. Maybe you believe it is too difficult to believe that God can answer your long-awaited prayers – trust God.
No matter what you are waiting for this Christmas season, remember that “when the fullness of time had come…” God fulfilled His Word. He will do the same for you.
Wait expectantly with hope, wait patiently knowing God will fulfill His promise in perfect timing, and wait faithfully, turning toward the One who is called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. In the meantime, do not forget to live!