Hope in Waiting

We stood together at the icy-cold window. Outside, bowed winter grass and scattered brown leaves sparkled white with frost in the morning sun. Inside, the warm air smelled of baking cinnamon rolls and freshly sliced citrus. My sister and I watched our breath form wet circles on the glass as we eagerly waited for signs of the pickup truck, our ears straining to hear tires crunching the gravel, our hearts brimming with anticipation.

It was Christmas! Across the room we saw the tree surrounded by carefully wrapped presents. It filled us with wonder! Yet, we waited for the farmer, who had risen well before dawn to milk and feed his cows. We neither disturbed a present nor tore a piece of wrapping paper until he returned from the barn and warmed himself with hot cocoa. Then, what joy!

In my family, as perhaps also in yours, hopeful waiting traditionally precedes the excitement of opening presents Christmas morning. Today, there are no cows, but we still wait. We wait for all to come, give thanks, and share together in the joy. Though waiting may seem like an odd tradition, the biblical story reveals that it is thousands of years old.

Truly, waiting filled the first Christmas. Mary waited nine months to hold the promised child in her arms. Simeon and Anna waited lifetimes full of tears and prayers to see the Savior. The people of Israel waited generations, through slavery, conquest, exile, and silence, for their prophesied Messiah. Since the Fall in the Garden, all of Creation waited for Christmas–groaning under the weight of guilt, suffering the pain of decay, longing for the fulfillment of a promise, for the Seed that would crush the serpent’s head. All waited. . . until an Infant’s cry broke the stillness of the night and the hold of sin and death on the world.

God gave the greatest Gift. Redemption began in the manger, culminated at the cross, burst from the tomb, and now brings hope and life to those who believe in Jesus. Still, we must wait. We wait for all to be made right, for God’s rescue to be complete, for the Gift to be fully unwrapped, and for all who will believe to come and share in the joy. So, keep waiting, dear one. In your sorrow and your laughter, with child-like trust and anticipation, keep waiting. Hope is coming again.

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me (Micah 7:7).

Jesus, The Hope of the World

Hope. It’s so easy to lose but so generously available. We need hope. In a world where uncertainty and disillusionment are mixed into the air we breathe, we need a fresh perspective. For centuries people hoped for the coming Messiah—Jesus, the Savior of the world. He...