“He was eagerly awaiting for the Messiah to come …” (Luke 2:25)
My six-year-old has a beautiful way of asking how much longer she has to wait for something. She always says, “How many more ‘sleeps’ until __________.” Since she doesn’t know how to measure time by a clock, she measures time by a good night’s sleep. At Christmas, this is a constant conversation for her mom and I … “Daddy, how many more sleeps ‘til Christmas?” “Only 11 more sleeps, honey. We’re down to 11 … only 11 more sleeps.” Her excitement is contagious and I believe it’s her ceaseless anticipation of Christmas that makes Christmas morning such a wonderful experience for her and children like her throughout the world. But, until the day arrives … she waits.
Jesus did not arrive on this earth without a wait. Louie Giglio reminds us that “while you and I simply turn the page, moving effortlessly from the end of the Old Testament promises to the opening of Matthew’s Gospel, it wasn’t quite that easy. Four hundred years of silence spanned the gap between the final prophecies spoken in Malachi (the last Old Testament book) and the birth of Christ. Imagine four hundred years without a word from God—no voice, no prophet, nothing. Imagine the agony of waiting, and the struggle to keep faith in the promises given long before. You can almost hear the questions being passed from one generation to the next. Was God gone? Was He ever really there? Was faith in Him just a waste?”
With unfathomable atrocities happening in Aleppo … with the strong victimizing the weak all around the world … with human trafficking generating a profit of $32 billion dollars a year … with pain across the street and around the globe, I find myself asking the question “How many more ‘sleeps’ until the Messiah will come?” I’m angry over the brokenness in our world. I'm longing for peace and restoration. I hunger for the perfect peace of heaven yet I’m force-fed a diet of this war zone called earth. In other words, I find myself … waiting … waiting for what God said will happen to finally happen … freedom from the brokenness of this world and for all that’s wrong to be made right. Romans 8:21 reminds us that all “creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.” Tonight I find myself longing for that day to come, but until it does, I wait. How many more sleeps, O Lord? How many more sleeps?
Tonight I find myself weary of waiting. I’m sure many of you do as well. Yet, God has ordained this time to be a time of waiting because it’s in the waiting that strength can be found. “Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” (Romans 8:26-28 The Message) “He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31) How many more ‘sleeps’ O Lord? “Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20)