Christmas is a season of waiting and preparation and anxious anticipation of new life. For centuries, the Old Testament reiterated over and over the promise of a coming Messiah; the promise of hope.
God's people waited. And they waited. They waited longer than they wanted to.
I'm sure they wondered if God had forgotten them; if He truly loved them as they endured year after year of hardship without the promise being fulfilled. God never has been, nor will He ever be, on our time schedule. And I am learning that waiting is not wasted time when you're waiting on the Lord. He always comes, fulfilling His plan at His appointed time. There is hope is this, because through the beautiful Christmas story, He proves that He doesn't just fix a problem, He always comes Himself.
Emmanuel means "God with us." I am ever so comforted knowing that God did not look down on the wretchedness of mankind and decide to snap His fingers or sprinkle a kind of magic dust as the fix. Instead, He chose love. He chose to come down and offer Himself to us as the cure. He laid down His own life to reach those who had willfully and deliberately put themselves on the throne of their hearts, He looked into the eyes of His own creation and chose to touch, heal, bless, teach, and comfort them - knowing all the while that they would later ask for a thief instead of for the Giver. He didn't just give us what we needed, He came because Jesus Himself IS what we need. That is love in its purest form. Love gives itself. The Israelites endured much before the promised Savior came. Are you waiting for a promise? Take heart!
He meets us in the waiting.
No matter how many centuries go by, no matter how impossible the situation may seem, no matter how dark the sky grows, or what worldly allurements call your name, always let Christmas be a reminder that God is in the business of beautiful stories. If He so loves that He comes Himself to ransom the captives, then He can be trusted to bring about deliverance, healing, and joy in your life. Jesus proved this when He came to His people. He showed them that although He may tarry, for reasons only He knows, He always comes. If you are in a season of waiting, know that His promise to undertake and guide you just as He has in ages past still stands. If you are in a season of night, know that His promise to pierce through the dark and be your morning star still stands. Accept with humble gratitude and quiet joy every pain and every tear, and walk in anticipation of what will be born through your sorrow. Cherish every opportunity to draw closer and to be pressed into the strong arms of Jesus so you can fall more in love with His glorious name.
Treasuring love that seeks not its own, but simply and peacefully waits while mimicking the Maker is the heart of Christmas.