Advent has begun… the Calendar tells us that the season of Christmas has arrived – no doubt the aisles of your favorite store declared that weeks ago. Your email box has been bombarded by Christmas offerings from My Pillow, to chocolate covered nuts, to socks, and items you’d never have imagined you needed. My emails are full of offers to buy a new bike, shoes for my bike, shorts to wear while I bike and lights to show my way as I bike. (Apparently, I have purchased a few bike accessories in the past year). The sidebar and feed of Facebook is also nudging you to purchase items for others and – why not treat yourself as well.
My 4-year-old Grandson Jack often said during his recent visit: “Good grief people it isn’t even Christmas yet.” When the car radio started to play Christmas music… he’d say it again.
We have trouble waiting for Christmas, for “Advent", which is the season when we pause – to remember the waiting the people of God had to endure while they were looking for the Messiah to come. 400 years had passed since the last prophet had spoken.
“They will be my people,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “On the day when I act in judgment, they will be my own special treasure. I will spare them as a father spares an obedient child…” … The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says, “The day of judgment is coming, … But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.” Malachi 3:17, 4:1-2
The waiting produced joy – albeit an odd picture of joy (as a calf let out to pasture). Perhaps more appropriate – “Like children dismissed for recess.” We’ve been waiting for this and now it’s here!
The past year has been a season of perpetual waiting; waiting for the curve to flatten, waiting for the isolation orders to be lifted, waiting to dine out, only to be sent back home. 9 months has in too many ways felt like so much longer.
What have you discovered in the waiting? Provision, new understanding, projects that needed attention… yes but perhaps also – frustration, disappointment, even grief. David said in Psalm 119 “I am worn out from waiting…” Can I get an AMEN?
Peter – not known for his waiting said… And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight. 2 Peter 3:14 (NLT)
How? You might ask:
O God - You are my strength; I wait for you to rescue me, for you, O God, are my fortress. Psalms 59:9 (NLT)
Not in your own power but His and to be a demonstration of His character to a weary world awaiting.
May you know and experience His presence in the waiting and in the leaping for joy!!!
Pastor Brad Dyrness