Original post at http://dlollis.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/advent-2013-the-rescue-begins/
What are we waiting for?
When I read that question, I think to the song by Natalie Grant. It’s chorus asks, “So you wanna change the world? What are you waiting for? You say you’re gonna start right now. What are you waiting for?”
As Thanksgiving ends, and Black Friday passes, we start to wait for another date on the calendar — Dec. 25. The retail giants are already preparing us for this day and celebration. Some of them put out the reminders as they were taking down the Halloween decorations (Maybe even before!)
Children will begin to write letters. Our schedules will become overwhelmed and overbooked with parties, get-togethers and celebrations. We will spend time in anxious thought over finding the perfect gift for the perfect person.
What are we waiting for?
Church time, especially the church calendar, doesn’t work the way the calendar works for the rest of culture. Our time is marked by special events, special periods, special seasons.
Now, we’re entering Advent. During Advent, we pause and we remember and we look ahead to the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus. It’s a period marked by four Sundays, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and, in many cases, the Sunday after Christmas.
The Christmas that we will celebrate as a church isn’t just the one that comes every year on Dec. 25 on the calendar.
We’re going to celebrate an event that came at the end of a long period of waiting. It began in the book of Genesis shortly after creation when sin entered the picture and we were separated from God. That wait continued through floods and slavery and exodus and wilderness journeys and wars. That wait was still there in times of persecution and occupation and an entire nation of people being sent into exile.
That wait continued through the 400 “silent years” that rest between the Old and New Testaments.
Waiting and waiting and waiting. Waiting for God to do something, to say something, to step in and change everything.
True, there were some voices, some prophets, who said that a day was coming when the wait would be over. There would be a day when God set things right.
But we misheard what they said and we started to look for things like kings and military leaders. We waited for the time when the king would come and the army would rise and all of our enemies would be vanquished forever.
We were waiting on something.
Then there are those glimmers that the wait is over. It’s news to a couple that is beyond child-bearing years that they will have a son and his name will be John. And John will tell the world that the wait is over.
Then there’s the teen couple that’s engaged to be married and the young girl who gets the word that she’s carrying a child, a special child. And the husband-to-be gets a message from God to marry her.
And on a night, in the town of Bethlehem, in a pen for animals, we get the big glimpse that the wait is really coming to an end.
On that night, God threw us the biggest lifeline of all.
Meredith Andrews captured this hope, this moment of rescue, in the song, “He Has Come for Us:” He has come for us/ This Jesus/ He’s the hope for all Mankind / He has come for us/ The Messiah/ Born to give us life.”
People who had waited for centuries finally now had a glimpse that they had waited with hope. Hope is that confident expectation that God will do what God says he will do. And God never EVER breaks his promises.
That’s why we observe Advent each Sunday in December, in each and every service we have. That’s why we will gather on Christmas Eve in two services. That’s why we will pause in the busy-ness of the Christmas season to think about God’s gift.
So maybe, just maybe, this Advent is a reminder that the wait is over. We don’t have to live like people without hope. Hundreds and hundreds of years of waiting led us to a savior who walked among us, who taught us, who gave up everything for us.
And we don’t have to live like people who are still waiting. “Christmas is truly here.”
So, what are we really waiting for?