Posted: 12/6/19 at 2:10pm. Column by Ed Jordan.
Waiting seems to be woven into the fabric of Christmas.
We wait for the season to begin, and then we count down the days left until Christmas Day. We wait in lines when shopping in stores, wait for parking spots at malls, and wait for planes or trains to arrive.
Children wait for the arrival of Santa Claus and the presents he brings. We wait for the prices of products to go down to get a better deal. Some people wait to buy their Christmas tree until late on Christmas Eve, to get it at a discount, or for free.
For centuries the Jews waited expectantly for the arrival of the Messiah, God’s Savior, sent to deliver them from their enemies and bring a new era among them of living at peace with God.
The testimony of the Bible is that Jesus (which in Hebrew means God/Yahweh saves) is this anointed one, Christ, the long-awaited Messiah, whom God promised to send to restore God’s people to live daily with him.
For Christians, we celebrate daily the fact that God himself came to save us in the person of Jesus.
During most of the days in December, Christians focus each day upon what a fantastic world-changing event was the arrival of Jesus on that very first Christmas. For the world, the wait for the arrival of God’s Savior (Jesus), the God-promised anointed deliverer (Christ), opened up a whole new life, filled with endless possibilities for anyone who commits his or her life to Jesus.
It is interesting how thoroughly Isaiah 25:6-9, written some 700 years before the birth and ministry of Jesus, tells precisely what this coming Savior and Messiah would accomplish. Besides providing a wedding-like feast to celebrate the new relationship God would make available between God and those who receive Jesus, a feast for all the peoples (cf. vs. 6 all the ethnic groups, all the nations), this deliverer would swallow up death and remove the dread of it from those who believe.
Further, the reality of having a new eternal relationship with God through Jesus has the effect of wiping the tears from our eyes when our believing loved ones leave us to enter unhindered into the presence of Holy God.
Jesus came to save us from our sins, as the angelic proclamation states in Luke 2:10-11 (The Message): “The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master.”
As Christians, we await the return of Jesus, when he will create a new heaven and earth in which righteousness is at home (cf. 2 Peter 3:13). Until that time, we live in a living relationship with God through the Holy Spirit, walking with Jesus and serving him, day in and day out.
Waiting is not passively sitting down and doing nothing.
As John Upton, the Executive Director of the Baptist General Association of Virginia is so fond of saying, our task is walking with Jesus every day as we move from the “now” into the unknown “not yet.”
We don’t know what the future looks like, but we don’t just sit down and wait. God is moving forward toward our “not yet,” and Jesus is leading us from our “now” forward into our “not yet.” We move forward with Jesus, filled with excitement and expectation. If you sit and wait for everything to materialize, you miss so much of life.
Regarding why we can confidently move from the “now” to the “not yet” while following God, Isaiah reminds us of the faithfulness of God in Isaiah 25:9 (CSB): On that day it will be said, “Look, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He has saved us. This is the Lord; we have waited for Him. Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.”
God is in our future—and God is our future! Walk with Jesus into that future. What are you waiting for?