Through the years the people of Israel waited for the Messiah. The time was long, and the years were hard. Many became cold. Devotion turned to legalism. Expectation turned to apathy. When would He come?
Then, at a time least expected, in a way that was at odds with the desires of the people, He came. He came as a Servant, rather than a king. He came as a Savior, rather than a conqueror. He came as a Baby, rather than royalty.
They had the prophecy (Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 53), but their expectation and hope had imprinted their own interpretation on the coming of the Messiah. They wanted vindication and freedom from Rome. Like us, they wanted their rights and liberty to live as they pleased. Just like today, though, I’m not sure if the majority wanted Him.
God promised a Savior that would be God with us – His presence, His person wrapped in human flesh. There would be no quick fix to the everyday problems, but there would be a living, breathing vision of God’s reckless and indescribable love. He would bring redemption from the sin that condemns for eternity. He would be Peace that transcends the struggle of this life. He would be Hope that lights the darkest of nights.
As we celebrate Christ’s first coming, we know that He will come again. He is not done with this Earth, and He will return as King of Kings.
I wonder if, in our waiting for His return, we like the Israelites have become cold to His presence,
if our expectation has been dimmed by the darkness of this world,
if His mission has taken second or third or last place in our priorities.
The message of Christmas calls us back to Him. He is faithful and true. He keeps His promises. May the expectation of His return fill our hearts as we celebrate His first coming.
Like a child
waiting by the window
for dad to return
from a day at work,
my heart stands poised,
looking out at the signs
that tell me
it is almost time for
my Savior to return.
Isaiah 7:14 – 14Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.