Watching and Waiting
It felt like forever. In reality, it was closer to two hours. But my overwhelming excitement and anticipation at all that was to come seemed to distort my sense of time. We weren’t allowed to open our presents until our parents were awake, and we weren’t allowed to wake them until 6am. So, there we were, early on Christmas morning, sitting before the Christmas tree with the sun still hidden and the bounty of presents still nestled safely ensconced in wrapping paper.
Watching and waiting.
In many ways, my experience of Christmas as a child—watching and waiting—is exactly what the Christmas season is meant to stir in us as believers. A sense of expectation, anticipation, and longing. Not for presents under the tree, but for the glorious presence of Jesus.
In fact, from the 2nd to the 24th of December each year, the church enters into a season known as Advent. Formed from a Latin word meaning “coming” or “arrival”, Advent is the celebration of the first coming of Jesus in humility, and the anxious anticipation of his second coming in glory. It is a time for remembering and rejoicing, watching and waiting.
We have no problems with the first part of the Advent season—we remember and rejoice as we put up the Christmas tree, sing Christmas songs, and buy Christmas presents. And of course, there’s nothing wrong with doing these things. But in the weeks leading up to Christmas, we should not only look back to Jesus’ birth with grateful rejoicing, we should also look forward to Jesus’ return with eager longing. We should groan along with creation as we await our final redemption (Rom. 8:22-23), the defeat of Satan (Rev. 20:9-10), and the end of evil and death (Rev. 21:4).
Hebrews 9:28 says, “…Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”
As we enter into this Christmas season, let me invite you to not just remember and rejoice, but also to watch and to wait. To not just look back at the glorious day of Jesus’ birth, but also to look forward to the glorious day of his return.
Watching and waiting.
On another note, next Saturday, Molly, Knox and I (along with the rest of my family) will get on a plane bound for Canada for a family holiday and a white Christmas. I’m really looking forward to the break after what has been a full and fulfilling year. However, I will miss my church family—especially not being a part of our Christmas services. I know Ben and John will lead you well in my absence. I wish you all a blessed Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour and await his return. And I am looking forward to the new year and all that God has in store for us as a church family in 2019.