Storying Christmas: Waiting

STORYINGCHRISTMASwaitingChristmas is, in many ways, a waiting game. We have to be patient ALL year long until Christmas day. We have to wait to open presents until the 25th – even when we can see them sitting there under the tree in December!

I complain a lot during this season because I just can’t wait to open my presents! But, if I’m being honest, part of the fun is the waiting – the anticipation, the longing for what’s under the tree.

For centuries, the people of God had been waiting for the Messiah to come – a Messiah who would rescue them and lead them forward – one who would be their king.

God used Moses and Aaron to take them out of slavery in Egypt. He used Joshua to lead them out of wilderness and into a Promised Land. But, like we do so often, they got impatient. David and Solomon built a great kingdom. Every time, like us, the Israelites got tired of waiting for God – much less the Messiah! Here is what God says to them through Isaiah:

Isaiah 30: 15, 18

 

“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:

‘In repentance and rest is your salvation,

In quietness and trust is your strength,

But you would have none of it.

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;

Therefore, he will rise up to show you compassion.

For the LORD is a God of justice.

Blessed are all who wait for Him!’

 In this passage from Isaiah, God tells the Israelites (and us today) to repent and rest, then we will find salvation and strength.

Even though we are impatient toward God sometimes, he wants to show us compassion and he does this through a Messiah. Through Jesus Christ, the baby, the man, the sacrificial lamb.

I think it’s important to realize that God doesn’t always give you what you expect. For example, you might know that the rectangle present under the tree is a book. But, you may be surprised at what book is under that Santa-laden wrapping paper. Jesus was not exactly what the people expected. They probably thought they were going to get a warrior rather than a carpenter.

Realize that God knows what we need more than we do. In the case of Jesus the Messiah, it was freedom from sin rather than from man.

In our waiting and through our repentance and rest, God will come through. He will come through for us like he did on the first Christmas.

What are you waiting for these days? Talk it through with the Messiah, then thank Him that you don’t have to wait for Him to come anymore. He’s already done that. Let him know that you realize he knows what we need. Tell him that you trust him, and that you will wait for him.

 


 

Missed something? Check out these Christmas posts:

Comfort  http://alittlesanctuary.org/storying-christmas-comfort/

 

…And Joy  http://alittlesanctuary.org/and-joy/

 

Summer Christmas  http://alittlesanctuary.org/summer-christmas/

 

God with us: Part I  http://alittlesanctuary.org/god-us-part/

 

God with us: Part II  http://alittlesanctuary.org/god-us-part-ii/

 

God with us: Part III  http://alittlesanctuary.org/god-us-part-iii/

 

Storying Christmas: Waiting  http://alittlesanctuary.org/storying-christmas-waiting/

 

Christmas Eve & The Miracle Fern http://alittlesanctuary.org/christmas-eve-miracle-fern/

 

…And Joy

Let’s talk about the other half of the phrase Comfort and Joy. Joy. More specifically, joy to the world.

Christmas is such a time for joy. Glad tidings of comfort and joy. The Lord has come. Let earth receive her king.

But let’s look at the time before that joy. Let’s look at the conflict in the story.

STORYINGCHRISTMAS (1)

There was a young teenager named Mary who was engaged to a man named Joseph. A good man – a man of God. But she becomes pregnant. Imagine becoming pregnant while engaged to a good man. And the baby is not his child. There’s so much grief in that – for Mary, for Joseph, for the families of both, and for the village in which they live. It’s not something that is easy. Nine whole months of people talking about you. They say Mary is crazy and a harlot. They say Joseph should get rid of her, leaving her and her baby to fend for themselves.

There was a man named Zechariah who had no children with his wife Elizabeth because she was barren. They were old and childless, but they had prayed for a baby. That is so hard.

There were shepherds, keeping watch over their flocks at night. They were doing what they did every single day – the lower class life of working and herding sheep. No kings came to them. They had no ambition – no dreams. They could not hope for joy.

Long before any of this, there were these two nations, divided from one nation: Israel and Judah. They had been united in the glory days of David and Solomon and they longed for that time when God would bless them once again. They felt abandoned, punished. All they had was a cryptic prophecy that a leader would rise up and be their uniting king once more. The Babylonians came and the Assyrians and the Romans. They lived in a war-torn land. They were oppressed and afraid. Many were forced to immigrate. They were spread out – families torn apart.

So much pain.

Can we imagine what all of this was like? Can you identify with any of these stories? A couple with an unplanned pregnancy. Another couple with no hope of having children. A lower class citizen, feeling hopeless – feeling that there is no place you can go to escape the life you have. A displaced people, longing for the glory days – or even just for home.

But then, joy.

All of these stories end in joy.

For Zechariah and Elizabeth, God gave a baby. So much joy!

For the shepherds, God sent the Lamb of God – and proclaimed his coming with angels!

For Israel and Judah, God sent the Messiah, the hope for which they had prayed for centuries!

For Mary and Joseph, God sent Jesus – a baby, the Lamb of God, the Messiah. A small child who would take away the sins of the world.

God sends joy to us. He has already done so. And what we see right now as pain, sadness, or hopelessness, we will one day see as joy. What a beautiful thing to remember this season – that in Jesus the baby, we have been given eternal comfort… and joy.

 


 

Comfort  http://alittlesanctuary.org/storying-christmas-comfort/

 

…And Joy  http://alittlesanctuary.org/and-joy/

 

Summer Christmas  http://alittlesanctuary.org/summer-christmas/

 

God with us: Part I  http://alittlesanctuary.org/god-us-part/

 

God with us: Part II  http://alittlesanctuary.org/god-us-part-ii/

 

God with us: Part III  http://alittlesanctuary.org/god-us-part-iii/

 

Storying Christmas: Waiting  http://alittlesanctuary.org/storying-christmas-waiting/

 

Christmas Eve & The Miracle Fern http://alittlesanctuary.org/christmas-eve-miracle-fern/