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October 30, 2019
Do you remember when your Christmas wait used to begin?
For some of us, it may have begun with the delivery of a mail order store catalog filled with must-have Christmas clothes and toys. For others, the season rang in with Santa Claus arriving at the local department store, or the hanging of the greens in a church sanctuary; the posting of an Advent calendar, or a decorated Christmas tree.
No matter how a Christmas wait began, no two years were ever the same. Some years, the wait was hopeful. Other years, the wait was frantic. Most years, the days before Christmas were a joyful time; other years, the days were filled with difficulty or shadowed by loss.
God has known those kinds of times, too.
The word says: “When the time was right, God sent his Son, and a woman gave birth to him. His Son obeyed the Law, so he could set us free from the Law, and we could become God’s children.” (Galatians 4:4, CEV)
Waiting for Christmas has meant God has been with his people suffering in Egypt, or traveling a desert, or living far from home. We spend weeks working and waiting for Christmas day, God spent centuries getting us ready for that first Christmas day. God has known the heartbreak of family who wouldn’t talk to him. God has heard his angels fill a Christmas night with carols of joy. God has known a heart filled with the hope of awaiting the birth of a child. God walked each step of the way to Bethlehem with Joseph and Mary. No matter how our wait for Christmas unfolds this year, God has waited that way already and waits our wait with us still
Each and every Christmas wait finds its fulfillment in that day a child was born to us who is Christ the Lord. All God’s promises have their “yes” in Christ. All our hopes in God are realized in Christ. Refused the dignity of an inn, Christ grows up to lift our shame from us by forgiving us from his cross. Born in stable, Christ prepares a place in his Father’s house for each of us. Content to sleep in a manger, Christ still finds room in any heart open to receiving him. Caroled by angels, the day will come when every knee shall bow, and every tongue declare Christ Lord of all.
No matter how you find yourself waiting this Christmas, may the light of the child born in Bethlehem fill your days with the joy of the shepherds, who saw the wonder of God with us lying in a manger.