A Season of Expectation & Anticipation
The weeks leading up to December 25th are full of expectation and anticipation. There’s so much to do to prepare, as we excitedly anticipate Christmas morning.
Expectation and anticipation go hand-in-hand. Typically, we have expectations because we’re told something is going to happen. We anticipate the event, which leads to actions and emotions about the event. So it’s like this:
Promise –> Expectation –>Anticipation –>Action/Emotions
The Christmas Story follows this same formula. God promised the Israelites that he would send them a Savior. In eager anticipation, they awaited their Messiah’s coming.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”
When Christmas morning finally arrives, the kids can hardly contain themselves, they’re so filled with joy and emotions of what gifts might be waiting for them. They wake up early and race down the hallway to see if Santa really came! They wonder, did he bring them that bicycle they’ve been hoping and waiting for, the one they asked for while sitting on his lap?
I imagine this is how God wants us to feel about him and all that he does and has done and will do for us.
When you were a child, and you wanted that brand new bike, you knew you would get it because Santa always came through. You probably imagined how shiny it would be, how it would feel to coast along the streets, wind blowing through your hair, with all of your friends watching you.
That feeling of expectation and anticipation is the same feeling we get as we anxiously wait to hear from God when we have quietly prayed for help, guidance, and answers to the circumstances we encouter in life. We expect him to come through because he has promised that he would, and because he did all the other times.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”
God prepared the most perfect gift for the world, the promised Savior, His son. His perfect gift arrived in a stable, and was wrapped in swaddling clothes. A tiny helpless baby. Jesus came into the world in humility, without the expected pomp & circumstance you would expect of a king; and he left the world in humility, crucified on a cross alongside criminals.
Yet, God’s promises were and are still being fulfilled. God doesn’t and won’t ever let us down. He continues to fulfill his promises to us day after day. He has always known exactly what we need and he has a perfect plan.
“Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.”
– Joshua 23:14
The day they crucified Jesus wasn’t the end of the story. No, it was really just the beginning, because three days later, Jesus, the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, the Wonderful Counselor, the Promised Savior, conquered death and rose from the grave! Now, he resides in Heaven with God the Father. Like the Israelites waited for his arrival, we too must continue to wait and prepare in anticipation of his promised return.
“So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”
“Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
As we make our preparations this Christmas season – as we shop, decorate, hang the lights and stockings – REMEMBER that the day will come when all of our hopes and dreams will be fulfilled.
“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”