One of my preschoolers was sitting on the deck looking sad and disappointed, so I walked over and sat next to him on the bench. I asked him why he looked so glum, and he told me he was waiting for his dad to come pick him up from school. I looked at him and I told him, “Your dad will be here, don’t worry! He always comes to get you.”
My preschoolers have a hard time waiting. No matter how many times we tell them, they’ll still ask. No matter how many times their parents show up to pick them up, they still doubt that their parents will come back. But as a teacher I know. I know that at some point before 5 o’clock their parent will be back to get them.
Waiting is hard, and sometimes waiting hurts.
“ For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord almighty will accomplish this.” Isaiah 9:6-7
The people of Israel waited from the time Isaiah prophesized of the coming of the Messiah to the time that Jesus was born in a manger. Generations and generations of people waited for the Savior of the World to come, and it wasn’t easy. They doubted, and they lost hope. They were led astray from the Lord and started going their own way. That is, until He was born.
In the unlikeliest of ways, He showed up. To a virgin woman. To a man about to be married. To a field of shepherds taking care of their flock. To the wise men who studied the stars. Jesus ended their waiting. He wasn’t born to the Queen of England or to 2017’s Man of the Year. He wasn’t surrounded by the country’s smartest, richest, or most elite, or born in the top hospital with the best doctors in the state. Rather, in a manger because there was no guest room available to them.
“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there as no guest room available for them.” Luke 2:6-7
The long awaited one was born in a manger, because there was no room available for Him…
I don’t want to live a life that misses out on celebrating the good things God has in store for me because I didn’t make space for Christ. Whether it be in a lowly manger or in the most stunning palace, I want to always have space for Christ to stay. In my darkest depths or in my most joyous highs or even in the spaces where I’m merely just content, I want Christ to dwell in my life.
This advent season I’ve been preparing my heart for what Christ has to offer. I know that God is going to give me Jesus. I know that His love is so immeasurable and unconditional that He would give me a gift I could never earn or achieve. So no matter what present I open or gift I receive, having Christ born to me is the best of all. That’s why I’ve been preparing my heart for something else…
I know that the gift of Christ is mine. I don’t have to shake the box or peel a corner of the gift-wrap to find that out. What I’ve been waiting for is something more.
So for this advent season I opted to do what I normally do when I expect Christ to move in my life- I fast. I figured, if I’m already getting the most priceless, amazing gift of all, then what else does God have in store for me? And so for four weeks I said no to late night Instagram scrolling and yes to doing my Advent devotional. I spent my work breaks reading scripture instead of sending Snapchats. Then I prayed- about everyone and every thing, about this season and it’s importance, and about what God is trying to teach me.
And God told me that waiting doesn’t have to hurt. Surely a time will come when my wait is over, but from now until then I don’t have to cry. The joy doesn’t come from the wait being over, the joy comes in knowing that along the way- through every bump and hurdle- I intentionally made space for Christ to come in and be more meaningful than my wait.
So maybe you’re waiting to open that big present that’s been sitting under the tree or maybe you’re waiting for a loved one to come home for Christmas, whatever the case may be know that you don’t have to wait for the best gift of all. It has already been given to you, and it’s offered to you every day so long as you choose to accept it. And when you do accept it, make space in your life to cherish it.
“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there as no guest room available for them. And there were shepherds living out in fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:1-12