We all remember the joy – and pain! – of waiting for Christmas as a kid. Watching the decorations go up, seeing the wrapped-presents under the tree, counting down the days. We may not have been waiting for the right reasons, but waiting is a crucial part of Advent.
“Like a child on Christmas Eve caught between joyful memories of the Christmas that was, while waiting with breathless anticipation for the Christmas about to be, so it is with God’s people. We are living between the Hallelujah of Christ’s resurrection and the Maranatha of Christ’s return. And here – in the waiting of Advent – God’s people discover a unique species of joy that can only be glimpsed through the lens of worshipful anticipation.” – Adam Ramsey
Churches all over the world observe Advent as the season leading up to Christmas – the celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus. Advent comes from the Latin word for “coming.” We celebrate the Savior that has come to bring us salvation. We also celebrate the Savior who will come again. This is a season of looking back to Jesus, and looking ahead to Jesus. It is a season of waiting. Waiting to celebrate his first coming as a baby who saves us, and waiting to celebrate his second coming as a great King who judge all and make all things new.
Waiting is an active posture, not passive. It is looking to God, hoping, expecting, knowing God will fulfill his promise. The Old Testament saints waited for generations for the Messiah to come.
And just as they awaited his first coming, we await his second coming. Jesus said, “Surely I am coming soon” and we should live in light of this reality. We are waiting for our “blessed hope” who will “transform our lowly bodies to be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21). A posture of waiting for Christ should transform the way we live our lives.
The Psalms are filled with exhortations to wait on the Lord. This is an active posture of looking to God in the moment of our need. Yes, Christ has come, and yes, Christ will come again – and yet we wait on him now, to come to our rescue. In worship, prayer, and silence, we humble ourselves and wait on God to bring his peace, presence, and power into our brokenness.
We are called to live a life waiting for Christ. We will be waiting until we die or Christ returns. And yet in the midst of the waiting, we don’t hesitate to celebrate that he has already come! The Son was born! The Savior came to rescue us! The baby in the manger assures us that our hope is certain. He has come, and so he will come again to transform this world. He has come, and so he will come now in our hour of need. And so we wait on him.
“The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.”
– Lamentations 3:25-26