That is the theme from Living the Christian Year for the third week of Advent. What exactly is meant by that phrase? There are references to the second coming..the time when He will return, not as a baby, but in His glory. No one knows when that will happen. So what do we do in the meantime? Can we anticipate and prepare for something that we may not see in our lifetimes? Sounds tricky to me.
So..as usual I take the bigger picture into account. The one that we live in every day. The story of God unfolding in our lives as we choose to step out in faith with Him. Our God invites us to be fully engaged with those around us.. not waiting for the day. God is here with us.. He is Immanuel. We are reminded of this in one of my favorite Christmas carols. He is working and moving and restoring everything in its time. If that is really true we can anticipate joy every single day.
You know by now that I am not saying that every moment will be joyful..but I am convinced there is joy to be found in at least a few minutes of every day. He provides joy in the midst of our pain and sorrow. He interrupts our lives with sweet moments that will never happen again. He surprises us when we least expect it. This is our God.. the one who created us and cares for us. Yes.. He has joy for us..Let’s anticipate together.
“All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).”
I grew up knowing absolutely nothing about the church calendar. This is no suprise considering I was raised by Jewish atheists who did not attend any religious services. The surprise is that even after I became a believer…over 30 years ago.. I still learned almost nothing about the church calendar. All that is beginning to change.
God is drawing me in a new direction and helping me discover the beauty of knowing the season we are in and embracing it fully. With help from my daughter I was introduced to two great resources..the Mosaic Bible and Living the Christian Year by Bobby Gross. Both of these books offer readings and scripture to enrich the seasons of the historical Christian church.
I wanted to pass these along to you..in case you are interested in taking this journey with me. We are sure to discover new insights and be encouraged in our faith as we travel on this road so well worn by those who have gone before us.
Here is a quote from the Mosaic Bible on one of my favorite topics. .longing and waiting.
“Waiting doesn’t resonate well in our culture. Our spending habits serve as one good example. Because we need it now, we rack up outlandish debts we have no plan for repaying. The Christian life is..and always has been..filled with waiting. ..it seems that God teaches us the most poignant lessons when we pay attention to the ways His kingdom is upside down from ours. Perhaps God wants us to feel strongly dissatisfied with the imperfections of our current state and long for what is to come.”
“Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days. The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses. Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy! The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon, as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon. There the Lord will display his glory, the splendor of our God. With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees. Say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.’
And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland. The parched ground will become a pool, and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land. Marsh grass and reeds and rushes will flourish where desert jackals once lived.”