I don’t know about you, but if you’re not careful, Thanksgiving comes, and the Christmas crush is on. And it does just that. It crushes us with the busyness and the stress and all that we’ve got to get done and check off our list. Then, all of a sudden, the whole thing is over, and we’ve missed the miracle that is Christmas.
And that’s why I want to help us rediscover the rhythm of Advent. Advent, at its core is about waiting. Specifically, it’s about waiting in expectation, and remembering that God comes through on his promises.
You might be in a part of the story right now where you can’t see how all the pieces are coming together, God’s working right now amid the waiting. While you’re waiting on God, God is working his plan in your life.
I love how in the Christmas story, Luke says that the shepherds were out in the field and suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest in on earth, peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
Isn’t that interesting? Here they are in the middle of a normal life, taking care of their flock. And suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appears.
But when you think about it, this suddenly wasn’t all that sudden. We see a promise of a savior for the entire story of Scripture. Starting in Genesis 3 we see God is making a way for our sins to be forgiven.
Moses talked about a prophet who was going to come later. David talked about a king who would come. Isaiah talked about a suffering servant who would come and bear the sins of mankind. But then the Old Testament story ends and there are 400 years where there’s no recorded message, no recorded word from heaven, no prophet, nothing but silence from heaven.
I don’t know what season of waiting that you’re in right now, but 400 years is a long time to wait. And generation after generation after generation, there’s a promise, but they can’t see any progress. There’s a promise, but they can’t see how God is working. And I have a feeling that a lot of us today are in that very same place.
And what I want you to know is there’s a suddenly coming in your story, just like there was in the story of the birth of Jesus.
I don’t know what you’re waiting on today, I would guess someone is waiting on a loved one to decide to come back home. Someone is waiting on a pregnancy that they prayed for so long. Someone’s waiting for a job to come through. Or maybe someone is waiting on clarity. “What am I supposed to be doing with my life?” You’re waiting on a doctor’s report or a test result or some other miracle that you’re hoping for and leaning towards in your life.
God comes through on His promises. And He’s going to come through on the promises that He’s made for you. These are not glib little slogans for the world, happy little slogans like, you know, God works while we wait.
God speaks into this moment in the in the backdrop in the framework of Christmas morning saying there’s going to be a suddenly in your story.
After centuries of nothing, Jesus Christ himself, the Son of God and human flesh cried in a manger to say that waiting is over and suddenly we can see what God has seen all along.
I believe that most of the time he’s looking at me and he’s like, “I already know how the story’s going to end. I already know how ultimately things are going to play out.”
The very end of our story is Revelation 21. When John sees a new heaven and a new earth coming down and sees that God is in the midst of it. John hears the voice of the One who sits on the throne, who says there can be no more tears and no more sorrow and no more pain and no more death. Because the old things have passed away and the new things have come.
This is the ultimate future we’re waiting for. But in your specific story today, God sees all of it and he knows in which frame the redemption is suddenly going to appear and He knows exactly how it’s all going to resolve for your good and for his glory. That doesn’t mean that everybody gets a bow at the end of their story. It just means that God’s working in every story for a purpose this greater than you and I can see and understand.
I would guess that you don’t like to wait. I know I don’t. We are raised waiting. Waiting for Christmas, for birthdays, for summer vacation. Waiting to go to high school, to leave high school, to grow up. And even as adults we still don’t want to wait 5 seconds for anything, but God puts us in situations often where his full plan is being unfolded in a way that we can’t totally see and comprehend.
So today, take hope in the Christmas story of Jesus. Be encouraged that God is working in your story, that God does have a bigger plan than you can see or understand today. Then even if you feel like you’re stuck in centuries of nothing, no word, no profit, no voice from God that you have enough to bank on today based on the very thing we’re celebrating in this season.
Know that God isn’t going to leave you hanging this time. Just like He didn’t leave humanity hanging on the day that Christ was born in the waiting. Today God is working.
So, what’s a good step that you and I can take this Advent season where we’re beginning this journey of waiting with expectation?
I think it’s just to pray that to God. “God, I can’t see it, but I still believe you’re working. I can’t understand how it’s all playing out right now, but I don’t have to see it all to believe that you still have a plan for me. And so today in the waiting, I choose to praise you. Today in the waiting, I choose to put my hope in you.
“And I know that if I trust and if I hope in you, I will not be disappointed. Because you always are working in the waiting.”
A season overflowing with anticipation, Christmas comes the same time each year with great hope and promise of a baby born long ago. But this season meant for joy is often consumed by busyness, pressure, mixed emotions, and is gone as quickly as it came.
What is it all for?
In this four session study, pastor Louie Giglio reminds us that it’s in the richness of Advent – a season of expectant waiting and preparation – that we find our answer. And it is throughout this waiting season that we prepare our hearts to greet December 25th with joy, peace, hope, and refreshed promise in our newborn King.