I love this time of year.
There’s something about the twinkling of the lights from the Christmas tree piercing the darkness of the early morning that seems to increase my awareness of His presence. He’s so near, summoning me to experience more of Him.
Advent—this waiting with an expectancy of our coming King.
This year I ponder what does waiting with expectancy look like? How do we know whether we are waiting well with anticipation or just wasting time? When do you give up and just stop waiting? Won’t we become disappointed if we wait too long?
It happens when you open the pages of Scripture to read of heroes of the faith waiting for their long-awaited promises. Right there in Luke 2:36-39 we meet a widow named Anna. Only three verses were dedicated to her. I love how God included minor characters who leave a lasting impact. She spent roughly eighty-four years worshiping and fasting for the coming king. Scripture says she never left the temple and she “talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.”
Longing filled my heart last year. Tears would roll down my face as I prayed for our long awaited baby girl by name, knowing God heard and understood the right timing, yet my heart still ached. And this year she is here in the flesh…our long awaited promise. Our hearts are filled with gratitude as we finalized on the adoption a few months ago. This waiting I’m familiar with… you can name the promise, and you’re pretty sure of the outcome. Yeah but– what about the waiting when you don’t know the results? And in the waiting, you seem to have more questions than answers. How will it all turn out? Will everything turn out ok? Life feels blurry, and you’re not even sure what to pray.
I ask my oldest, “What do you think waiting expectantly looks like?”
His response was simple yet profound, “Waiting knowing something awesome is about to happen. There’s no disappointment because you know without a doubt it will happen.”
Because in the time of Mary and Joseph they didn’t know what they were waiting for, it wasn’t prepackaged. Anna fasted and prayed for eighty-four years unaware of how God would rescue them. All she knew was that He was her rescuer and He would one day fulfill His promise. Trusting God, she fasted and prayed, unsure if He would even come while she was alive
We often approach Advent as if they knew Jesus would arrive as a baby and thirty-three years later die on a cross to rescue them. Nobody knew. There was no Bible; only stories passed on to one another about God’s faithfulness to His people. And, according to the accounts, God always kept his side of the bargain. But God hadn’t been heard from for a long time.
All that changed one day, completely unexpected, when an angel visited Mary, who was just a girl, and told her that God had chosen her to carry God in the flesh. Instantly, I can imagine her head flooding with a thousand questions. Fear crept in as she weighed the implications and processed the possible outcome.
So there’s this mind chatter with waiting. Each day of waiting brings on a whole host of lies and questions; attacking our promise of hope for something awesome to happen. These lies begin to make us question our very act of waiting with expectancy, and if we are not careful, we will stop expecting all together and believe for less. Can you imagine if Anna had stopped believing? At about year seventy she decided, “You know what I’ve waited long enough. He’s not coming. I’m crazy for believing He would.” And she picked up her prayer mat and walked out of the temple to never see the fulfillment of the promise. Just writing those words makes my heart ache, even though we do this every day of our lives…believe for less because I’m tired of believing for more.
I can imagine Anna enjoying her time in the temple, fasting and praying with joy. Are you enjoying your journey or praying it would end? I believe God wants us to enjoy Him in the waiting.
Today, I feel God breathing hope over our tired, weary souls and restoring joy to your journey.
Each day God gives a gift of time—so we have time to be still and wait. Time to silence the lies and the questions. There’s a stilling. Pondering. Hushing. About Advent. It gives us space to surrender and learn how to wait from a place of worship like Anna. Gives us to time to silence the lies and worship the One who gives breath to our dreams.
Wait from a place of worship.
Here, in the midst of the chaos, the loud celebrations, the big spectacles, the Christmas pageants, the presents, and the trimmings Christ is here whispering, “Believe for the impossible because I am the God of the impossible. Don”t stop believing”
So let’s continue to wait expectantly for God to do something awesome.
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