By the title of this entry, you may think I have news to share. Well, yes, but not the kind you're "expecting" (pun intended). No, I’m not pregnant. That would truly be immaculate conception, and I am not Mary. But it’s almost Christmas and “expectant” has everything to do with her and the birth of Jesus. So follow along with me….
By definition, the word expectant means “having or showing an excited feeling that something is about to happen” or “a person who anticipates receiving something,” In other words, you’re WAITING anxiously for something.
Over 2,000 years ago, the people of Israel were waiting… for the Messiah, Prince of Peace, the son of God, a Savior for all mankind. They had been waiting since the beginning of time, for God to fulfill His promises. Little did they know that he would be born in a manger to a virgin woman one cold, December night. But news traveled fast and shepherds and wise men came from all over to see for themselves this miracle that was baby Jesus, our Immanuel, meaning “God is with us.”
You can see how expectant they were in this hymn that you may have sung many times in church growing up:
Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free; from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee. Israel's strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art; dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.
I can close my eyes and imagine their excitement, their awe, their wonder. God had been alluding to the birth of His son since the beginning of time. Now here he was! God was giving them a free gift, a relationship with His son, their savior, who would take away their sins and bring the promise of eternal life. Who wouldn’t want THAT? Yet when it finally happened, some chose to believe and accept the gift and others chose to look away and continue waiting. That’s still the case today, more than 2,000 years later.
Even today, Christ-followers wait excitedly like this every Christmas morning, but not for the same reasons. We have things we “need” that we hope are wrapped in a bow under the tree. And when they aren’t, we feel discontent, even ungrateful. We compare our gifts to what others get. We go back home and often buy what we didn’t get ourselves. Or at least, that’s what I have done more times than I’d like to admit.
What or who are you waiting expectantly for? HOW are you waiting? How can we see God’s first coming with a lens that will help us better prepare for His second coming? Because the greatest gift we could ever receive is already ours to have. Will we choose to open it or trade it in for something shinier?
Praying that I will have a spirit of expectation this holiday season and coming year.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)