The Season of Waiting
The Advent season will officially start this weekend (December 2). Advent typically refers to the days and weeks, starting on the first Sunday of December, that lead up to Christmas. The focus of this season is waiting. Christians expectantly wait to celebrate the narrative of their Savior’s birth while simultaneously pointing their hearts towards the return of Jesus at His second coming.
Advent reminds us how all of creation had been waiting for the One who would redeem and rescue it. This is the scene Jesus enters into upon His birth. The Israelites were left waiting for what God had promised and it seemed as if heaven had become silent. By the time John the Baptist shows up announcing the arrival of the Lamb of God, 400 years had passed since God had spoke through a prophet (Malachi would be the last prophet to speak to God’s people in the OT). God’s people had been promised a Savior for about as long as they could remember. But He never seemed to arrive. So they had to do the most dreaded of activities—wait.
But Christmas reminds us that God keeps His promises; we may just have to wait. He promised a Savior, so He will provide a Savior. But who likes to wait? What good can come from waiting? The Advent season helps us answer questions such as these.
Who Likes to Wait
Simple answer—no one. People have seemed to become less and less patient. We live in an increasingly “now” world and tend to huff and puff if we are required to exercise a little patience, restraint, and self-control. Our culture offers us a fast-paced and immediate version of life. But Christianity presents us with something totally different.
God will make you wait. His work doesn’t unfold according to our timetables. His arm cannot be twisted, He is not in a hurry, and I think He understands something a lot of us don’t—waiting is healthy for our souls. Waiting teaches us to persevere, to be faithful, and to seek the face of God. It teaches us to slow down and consider what is really important in life. It builds anticipation which spills over into exuberant praise when the answer comes. God knows what He is doing and what is best for us; that is why He makes us wait. Advent reminds us that the waiting is worth it.
During this season of waiting and anticipation, unfulfilled desires can come sharply into focus.
The things we don’t have—the things we are waiting on—can be hard not to notice and think about this time of year.
If you are single and waiting for a spouse, you can tend to wonder how many more Christmases will pass without a special someone to share it with. It could be that you are waiting on a prodigal to come home. There may be an empty seat at your holiday festivities because a loved one has rejected Christ and has chosen to pursue a life of sin. Or maybe you and your spouse are waiting to start a family and it doesn’t seem to be going as you had planned. And you wonder when (or even if) your family will expand. Whatever it may be, waiting for God to move, provide answers, and give direction in such serious areas is extremely tough. It’s hard to hang in there without getting discouraged. And rather than serve as a distraction from the pain and confusion, the holidays can put a spotlight on said struggles. But take heart.
As we wait for God to fulfill His promises and move mightily on our behalf, the Advent season reminds us that fulfillment is coming. See, God is not slow or fast when it comes to timing. He is perfect—just like He is concerning everything.
His timing is perfect and we are being perfected as we wait.
He is shaping and molding us to be more like Jesus—our perfect Savior. If you are struggling with waiting on God to move this Christmas season, let me be the one to remind and encourage you:
God keeps His promises and His promises are worth waiting for.
Continue to wait and be transformed; seek the face of God for spiritual growth rather than only a change in your life circumstances.
Waiting for the Lord to move is tough; you don't have to pretend it's not.
Get (and be) ready to rejoice when (not if) the answer comes.
God has a better future planned for you than you do for yourself.
Hang in there—God’s got this.