Guess what everyone? Today is my birthday! By the time anyone will be reading this, the day will have passed. But the day that I am writing this article, I am also celebrating the day God decided would be the best time for me to be born. I have discovered that I am basically a child because I could not fall asleep last night in anticipation of today. I know that my husband and I will be doing a list of fun birthday things today and in response, I saw every hour on the clock until my alarm went off.
The blessing to my unexpected fatigue is a reminder of a crucial element of being people of faith: anticipation. While watching the clock tick by, I was reminded of a couple of different waiting seasons for all people in our faith history.
The first waiting season was the night before the People of Israel were to be freed from Egypt. They had been held captive as slaves, forced to labor for a ruler who did not care for them. God worked it out through Moses for them to be freed, but at a great cost for the Egyptians. That evening, God gave them specific instructions before they were to leave. He commanded them to eat a feast with unleavened bread and with their clothes and shoes on, ready to go. The process for making leavened bread was time-consuming, and during this evening of anticipation, what they wore and even what they ate was poured into the process of waiting. In this situation, God’s people waited for their lives and freedom. How they waited could have cost them both.
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The 2nd waiting season was the time leading up to the birth of Jesus. People knew a Savior was coming, but they did not have all of the details of His arrival. A specific group of people, Matthew calls them wise men, arrived after they noticed a change in the heavens. They followed a star that was foretold in prophecies from generations earlier. Scholars believe that these men were connected to the men who served the king alongside Daniel (Daniel and the lions Den-Daniel!) and had been watching the heavens for generations. As soon as they witnessed the sign, they brought gifts of worship. They had a message of how to anticipate the coming Savior, and with patience and dedication, they waited.
The waiting season of the wise men reminds me of the last waiting season: you and me today. We have been given directions from Jesus that He will return again. He lets us know that the hour is unknown, and there is work to be done in the meantime. If we give up waiting for Him and refuse to wait according to His instructions, we may miss it. Jesus’ return is not the only place of anticipation. We can also expect the promises of a full life when we live it with Jesus.
I do this thing with my children when if the event is too big or awesome, I do not tell them about it because they get so excited. Handling excitement over long periods is not their strength, and so I let certain things be last-minute surprises. Even with this workaround, I find myself saying the phrase, “can you just wait” regularly. Today, I ask myself this same question. Can I just wait for Jesus? Will I be wearing righteousness like the Israelites were wearing sandals? Will I be watching, or will I be distracted by life? Can I just wait? Or will I give up the honor of anticipating His promises for an easier quick fix? I pray we would wait well today, tomorrow, and however long it takes.