….waiting for what?
Waiting for ……. Christmas. In the western world we are consumed by commercialism, the shops are busy, Christmas markets are thronging and we’re making lists for all kinds of things – shopping lists, gift lists, to do lists. The most pressing thought in many of our minds is ‘Have we forgotten anything?’ and one of the most-often asked questions is ‘Are you ready for Christmas?’.
But the first Christmas what were they waiting for? Advent is a term from the Latin word ‘adventus’ which means“arrival”. They were waiting for the arrival of Jesus. Mary was waiting, the wise men were waiting, the angels were waiting. When would He come? How would He come?
Not everyone was waiting, of course. Most were going about their business, unaware of the momentous event which was about to happen. The shepherds were out looking after their sheep; Herod was on his throne; normal people were going about their normal lives.
When news of the birth of the baby came, they were surprised: ‘An angel of the Lord appeared to (the shepherds), and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified’. (Luke 2:9). After they had been to Bethlehem and had seen the baby, they told others and they, in turn, ‘were amazed at what the shepherds said to them’. (Luke 2:17 & 18).
But it was no surprise to God – in fact it happened exactly when He said it would – ‘But when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent his Son, born among us of a woman’ (Galatians 4:4, The Message). And it happened exactly how He said it would: ‘The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told’ (Luke 2:20).
What are we waiting for? Christmas is a beautiful time of the year, filled with smells, tastes and memories that we cherish. We rejoice in being together with friends and family. We enjoy good food. We give and receive gifts. God has given us all of these things to enjoy.
But in the midst of our to do lists, let’s remember it’s not just about what we are waiting for – it’s also about who we are waiting for. Let’s make sure He’s in our celebrations.
Let’s not be surprised when He comes.