Waiting is not one of our favorite things to do. Especially for children and especially at Christmas. I know that feeling. Every year my brother and I were made to wait, not so patiently, for our aunt and uncle to arrive on Christmas morning. We were instructed to sit at the top of the stairs, (and No Peeking!), eagerly anticipating what was waiting for us under the Christmas tree. While my aunt and uncle lived only a short distance from us, the wait seemed like forever. Couldn’t they just hurry up already? But adults aren’t always good at waiting either. And it’s not just at Christmas. Whether it’s for a special event or sitting in traffic, waiting for test results or a new job offer, waiting is hard. We don’t like it!
The season of Advent is a time of preparation and anticipation. It is a time to reflect and praise God for his greatest gift to us. It is a time of celebration. We rejoice at Jesus’ birth and give thanks for His obedience in coming to earth and suffering on our behalf. But Advent is also a time of waiting. It is a stark reminder of how long the Israelites waited for the promised Messiah. They knew what it was like to wait, and they probably didn’t like it much either.
400+ years of silent waiting
The prophets had foretold the coming of the Messiah. Isaiah writes “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Is 7:14)” But they had no idea when that would occur. After Malachi authored the final words of the Old Testament, there was a period of 400 years of silence. Although Christ is referred to numerous times in the Old Testament, there were now no words or action from God. Generation after generation of Israelites had experienced God working on their behalf, setting their expectations for the promised Messiah. And now, only silence.
even in waiting, god was at work
It would have been easy to lose hope; to feel as though God had forgotten them. They certainly would have experienced times of frustration when they felt abandoned and alone. But the Israelites kept their hope alive by holding onto God’s promises. They knew that even in the waiting, God was at work accomplishing his purposes. They knew that the fulfillment of God’s prophecy was worth the wait.
hope in the midst of waiting
In the same way, we find ourselves in a time of waiting for Christ’s second coming. We have no idea when that will be. God hasn’t given us a date or a time. As we observe the world around us, it’s easy for us to despair and feel disheartened. But there is hope in the midst of the waiting. Even in the silence, God is working, putting into motion the details of his perfect plan. Christ will return, and there will be great rejoicing as he rescues His people and claims the victory over our enemy.
his promises are worth the wait
Are you waiting this advent season with expectation of the Lord’s return? Or are you frustrated, feeling disheartened in these difficult times in which we live? Do you feel like saying ‘Lord, hurry up already’? Let this advent season remind you that God is in the midst of our waiting. He is still at work, even when we don’t see it. May we echo the words of Micah 7:7, “But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” His promises are worth the wait.