In this Christmas theme of waiting, I can think of nothing better to say to sum up all I’ve been saying this week, but a special reading from The Mosaic Bible. Imagine the world waiting thousands of years for the coming of Messiah. Imagine Mary waiting all those months for her child to be delivered. Imagine children in need groaning for deliverance. Imagine “the whole creation…groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan(ing) inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” Romans 8:22-23
Here is the reading entitled “Anticipation and Preparation,” by Elizabeth Honeycutt:
The time between the conception and the delivery of a child are possibly the longest nine months of any new parent’s life. When I was expecting my two children, the closer the days drew to the due date, the more anxious I became to meet my baby. I washed, sorted, and put away all the newborn clothes. I installed the car seat and tried to catch up on sleep. I laid aside the toys and equipment for when the baby was a bit bigger. Though I couldn’t do anything to make the baby come and I didn’t know when that happy day would be, I did what I could to avoid being caught unprepared.
As a Christian, I’m supposed to long for Jesus Christ’s return. And when the world’s injustice, pain and senselessness bear down on me, I so long for that day. I find myself wondering, How long can you wait, Lord? How can you let us keep going in this mess? I already know the answer. It’s his grace again…giving me time to get my rooms in order, to get my mind and heart on track so that when he comes, I won’t have to regret it. So while part of me cries out, “Come, Jesus!” the other part says, “But don’t rush! There is so much to be done before you’re here!”
Advent is a time of remembering how the world waited–and prepared–and despaired for the Savior to come. One day, he came. The world has never been the same. Advent is also a time of looking forward to his second coming, of waiting–and preparing–and never despairing. What the angels told the disciples on the Mount of Olives so long ago they say to us today: “This same Jesus will come back!”
How can I prepare for the Lord’s second coming? After speaking to the Corinthians about the next advent, Paul concluded: “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless” (I Corinthians 15:58). I can prepare for Jesus’ coming by committing myself to do his work. Even the smallest act is not in vain.
The months of waiting for my babies were forgotten when I first held each child. These were Aha! moments as I met the person to whom I had already committed my body, heart, and soul. When the Lord comes again, “in a moment, in the blink of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52), the long-anticipated, prepared-for day will no longer be someday, but today. It’s only a dull picture of the divine magnificence, but, like the babe in my womb whom I knew and loved and yet had never seen, I also finally will see my Lord face to face. Come, Lord Jesus, come! May I be found prepared, even if you come tonight!
–The Mosaic Bible, pg. m36
Merry Christmas! We’ve been given the greatest gift of all — Messiah!