When you live in a home with 4 children, Christmas can be an amazing wonder and a major test of patience at the same time. Over the past several days, we’ve been getting our cards ready for mailing and purchasing the last few items we need for our Christmas celebration. I am a notorious procrastinator, so there is nothing like waiting until the last minute. But we’ve also begun to wrap presents to be placed under the tree for Christmas morning.
In our house, wrapping is a big deal. Gift bags are for people who refuse to take the time or effort, and after all, isn’t it the thought that count? Okay, maybe I was a little harsh. You gift-baggers are alright. We make it a family thing, where the kids argue over who gets to wrap with me. As I type that, it seems a little dysfunctional. Oh well. Here’s what I am trying to get to: Once the present is wrapped, what do we do? We wait.
Previously in this Advent series, I have talked about God’s waiting. But now I want to hone in on our own waiting. Many times we can be like my son David, who is so eager for all things Christmas, in that as soon as we finish our preparations, we’re continually seeking “what’s next”. It’s both beautiful and exhausting, to have your son so excited but also not satisfied. And while I wish I had his energy level, I’m trying to teach him to wait. It’s so hard when the presents are wrapped and covered with ribbons and bows, just sitting there, waiting to be unwrapped, but we wait.
The theme of waiting on God is found throughout the Bible. In our day, the idea of waiting for someone or something seems rather tedious. It leads to frustrations and we try to invent ways to distract ourselves. We play a game on our mobile devices. We count the tiles on the ceiling or floor. Or worse, we jump ahead of God and try to do it on our own. See the story of Abraham to find out how that works out (not good).
In the Bible, however, we often see waiting associated with positive emotion. There isn’t a dread of the here-and-now, but a confident hope of what is expected soon. In Psalm 27:12, David prays that God will “Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.” Ouch. That is what we pastors call a “difficult season”. But instead of despairing, see what David prays/ celebrates in the next two verses:
“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! 14 Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!”
David was strengthened by his hope. He didn’t just hope that everything would be hunky-dory in the life to come. He was convinced that He would see God work things out in this life. He didn’t know how or when. But he was reminding himself, not to just wait anxiously checking his sundial for the time, but to wait, expecting a glorious outcome.
Maybe you have done all you can do. I don’t just mean have the presents wrapped and cookies baked. Perhaps in your situation, you have done all you know to do. You’ve worked hard. You’ve put in the time, the tears, the sweat. And now it’s up to God. Don’t despair. Christmas is coming. Christ is coming. Believe that you will see God at work. Be strong and let your heart take courage. Christmas is all about waiting for the Lord!