Do you remember when your wait for Christmas began?
Did your wait begin with the delivery of that mail order store catalog filled with must-have Christmas clothes and toys? Or, did it begin with Santa Claus arriving at the local department store, or decorating the family Christmas tree, or realizing how many shopping day were left until Christmas?
Thinking back over the years, it was all of the above with an advent calendar, or a bit of church Christmas planning thrown in. Some years, the wait was hopeful. Other years, the wait was frantic. Most years, December was a joyful time; other years, the days were filled 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 travelling 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 the hope of awaiting the birth of a child, and as Joseph and Mary travelled to Bethlehem, God walked each step of the way with them. No matter how a wait for Christmas unfolds, it is good to know that God has already waited that way, and waits 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 a 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 will 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 a shepherd, who coming even unto Bethlehem, has seen the wonder of God with us.