“An-tic-ipa-a-tion…” If you hear me singing the familiar refrain of that classic Carly Simon song made popular in the iconic Heinz ketchup commercials, good for you (…and you are showing your age right alongside me!).
Right now my anticipation and expectation for the beginning of the Christmas season is almost realized. I have my Christmas music ready. We’ve been practicing our Christmas Cantata music, too. We’ve had our Operation CHRISTMAS Child party. It’s all soooo good!!
You know, the anticipation I experience each year as Christmastime approaches significantly pales in comparison to the anticipation of Jesus’ arrival. The birth of the Messiah had been predicted lllooonnnnggg before He ever came to be born in Bethlehem. Think about all those faithful Jews who understood the message of the prophets and lived looking for the Messiah’s appearing. We see the rejoicing in people like Simeon (Luke 2:22-35) and Anna (Luke 2:36-38) when they had the privilege of seeing the new-born King!
The arrival, appearing, advent of the Messiah. We celebrate The Coming of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. The word advent means—to come or coming. As Timothy Jones states, “the purpose of Advent was to anticipate the coming of Christ to Earth; it was a season that focused on waiting.” This year, as a church family, let’s take a slow walk to the manger together. As we do, we will center our study, including our time together on Sunday mornings, on a couple of Old Testament prophets, Isaiah and Micah, and on four timeless truths, qualities for our lives, that Jesus’ coming brought to the world: hope, joy, peace, and love.
To help us with our Advent Celebration, I will be utilizing some excellent materials created by a pastor friend of mine and a team from his church. I will be posting regular devotional thoughts on this blog and on our church Facebook and Twitter pages. I will post a link to a downloadable Advent devotional guide on this blog as well as having printed copies available. My Advent posts will begin on November 26. On that day, the link to the Advent Devotional guide will be available. Print copies of the guide will be available at church on November 27. Using the guide starts on November 28.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. –Isaiah 7:14
Today, we too are waiting for our King. Waiting for the day He returns to establish His Kingdom. Reminding ourselves to do the same thing that Israel had to do: wait—remembering that there is meaning in the waiting.